More than half of Mississippi’s counties under enhanced COVID-19 restrictions as hospitals feel strain

More than half of Mississippi’s counties under enhanced COVID-19 restrictions as hospitals feel strain

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves added 13 more counties Tuesday to the list of those with enhanced restrictions which include a mask mandate and limits on social gatherings.

Reeves doesn’t think his decision making is in conflict with those calling for a statewide mask mandate. At the end of the day, he says they have the same goal of wanting the most Mississippians possible to mask up.

If you look at this map from MEMA, you’ll see the large majority of the state has some form of a mask mandate—whether it be an order from the governor or local leaders.

“I just don’t believe that if you put a policy like a mask mandate statewide in place and never replace it that it has the same impact as if you add based upon specific numbers and I think there’s state, after state, after state that have proven that,” said Gov. Reeves.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs issuing a call to action. He says he’s heard this kind of messaging from hospitals and healthcare providers but believes it needs to go beyond that.

“What I’m not seeing is a groundswell of messaging from all leaders,” noted Dobbs on a separate Mississippi Department of Health press call. “This is a community issue and I would like to just send out a call: protect your communities, protect your workforce, protect your schools and be brave. Talk about what we know works. Don’t be timid about saying it because you’re afraid of some, you know, crazy conspiracy uncle who thinks nutty stuff.”

Meanwhile, Dobbs is reminding folks that healthcare is an exhaustible resource. Twelve of the state’s major hospitals had zero ICU capacity as of Tuesday morning.

“What it means is we don’t have the flexibility to move that’s around,” explained Dobbs. “I got a call this morning about a patient who had Covid and was critically ill and needed to go to a major hospital and they couldn’t go. There was nowhere to go. There was nowhere in Mississippi and nowhere in Louisiana.”

Dr. Dobbs says that will impact more than just COVID-care but also things like heart attacks and car wrecks. He says it will likely back up the ERs.

But on a slightly more positive note, while patients with confirmed COVID have broken the state’s previous record, there has been a lower demand for ICU beds compared to earlier this year.

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