Gov. Reeves: 100% committed to reopening schools this fall

Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 2:33 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves addressed the state on the rising COVID-19 cases.

Health officials in the state are concerned over the recent spike in cases and the potential to devastate the state’s health care system. They’ve limited elective surgeries in six counties because of the uptick.

Reeves says future orders on bars, restaurants, or even mask mandates will be possible. He says he does not want to do it, but people in the state need to follow the rules.

“Please protect your loved ones. Please wear a mask. Please stay home as much as possible,” Reeves said.

Reeves says the death numbers have gone up significantly in the past two days. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, a total of 74 deaths were reported by Mississippi Department of Health.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the increase in cases should not come as a surprise.

“Keep in mind we do have deaths in younger’s just not as common,” Dobbs said. MSDH reports seven deaths of people younger than 30 in the state.

Dobbs said there is more people coming for tests. He said more than 800 people showed up for a test Wednesday at the drive-thru location in Jackson.

Dobbs announced 36 cases of COVID-19 connected to the outbreak at the State Capitol. Twenty-six of those are among lawmakers--a group that includes both House Speaker Phillip Gunn and Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann.

Reeves said there’s 160 more people in hospitals with COVID-19 since the end of June--less than two weeks.

“We need to return our mindset to mid-April,” he said, referring to when people were being more careful in regard to the virus.”

Reeves says he is 100% committed to reopening schools safely, but is less committed to allowing recreational activities, like high school football, to function as normal this fall.

“We’ve got a lot of decisions and a lot of discussions to be had in the coming weeks,” he said.

Dobbs said some sports are more likely than others, like non-contact sports. Something that worries him is crowds in stadiums. He is open to the idea of moving fall sports to the spring.

“It’s going to be worse in the fall than it is now,” Dobbs said.

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