The state of Mississippi has now reported over 35,000 cases of COVID-19 since testing began.
With 797 Mississippi residents testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the state's total stands at 35,419 since testing began. This past week saw an average of 678 new positive tests per day, roughly even with last week's daily average of 683 cases.
For Wednesday through Friday this week, the average was 844 cases reported per day, with Thursday's report revealing over 1,000 people had positive test results in a single day.
Mississippi reported 123 people died from COVID-19 related illnesses this past week, averaging 17.6 reported deaths per day; that average is the highest since testing began.
For most of the week, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs was sounding the alarm, as the total number of people in Mississippi hospitals for COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 infections has neared 1,000 each of the past few days, straining the capacity of the state's health care system.
On Thursday and Friday, over 200 people were in intensive care with COVID-19 complications; 107 people were on ventilators on Friday.
On Friday, Gov. Tate Reeves issued heightened social distancing requirements for several counties in the state including all three Metro Jackson counties—Hinds, Rankin and Madison.
All businesses in those counties are expected to screen employees daily at the beginning of their shift. Employees who are unable to maintain six feet of social distancing in their work are required to wear a face covering, which must be cleaned or replaced daily.
The governor's order requires customers and employees to wear face masks in retail businesses. The business must place hand sanitizer at all entrances, in or near bathrooms and at cashier stations. Retailers must make all efforts to maintain six feet of social distancing between customers. Carts and baskets touched by customers must be sanitized after each use.
People out in public must wear face coverages when at public gatherings or in a shopping environment. Social gatherings are limited to 10 people inside or 20 people outdoors.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19.