State health officer encourages social distancing & face masks as COVID-19 cases rise in Mississippi


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers discussed the rising number of coronavirus cases in Mississippi. On Friday, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 1,116 new cases in a single day.

According to Dr. Dobbs, events like indoor parties and extracurriculars are driving the transmission of the virus in the state. He said people at those events are not social distancing or wearing masks. Dr. Byers said there have been outbreaks at long-term care facilities and prisons. They have also noticed clusters in churches.

Health officials encouraged the public, businesses and churches to hold events outdoors and avoid social gatherings.

With a new surge of the virus in Mississippi and the upcoming flu season, Dr. Dobbs said he was concerned hospitals could be overwhelmed. He encouraged Mississippians to get a flu shot. On Friday, 146 COVID-19 patients were in the ICU. Seventy-five of the patients were on ventilators.

According to health officials, there has been a rapid growth in cases among 50 to 60-year olds in Mississippi. Dr. Dobbs said there is still a high risk of death from the virus, if patients are hospitalized.

As for schools, Dr. Byers said at least 58 students in the state have been hospitalized due to the virus.

Governor Tate Reeves allowed the statewide mask mandate to expire on September 30. Dr. Dobbs stated that people have not maintained mask wearing like he had hoped in the weeks since. He said the governor could take additional action when it comes to the virus as early as next week.

According to Dr. Dobbs, rapid testing is available for people. Click here to see the dates.


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