Mississippi’s statewide ‘shelter-in-place’ order is currently set to expire on Monday (April 27th), and during his daily press briefing, Governor Tate Reeves said that a decision on whether to extend the order is coming soon.
The Governor explained that as they continue to gather data related to the spread of COVID-19, a final decision on the order will be made sometime within the next 36-48 hours as state officials look to continue the process of reopening Mississippi’s economy.
“We’ve talked about the potential of a regional approach or a county-by-county approach,” he said. “We are also looking at industries and making decisions on those industries that can quickly get back to work and do so in a safe way.”
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and the Governor explained that the state’s healthcare system has not been overwhelmed as resource usage has fallen well below original projections.
“Some national experts thought we would need about 4,000 hospital beds this week. Instead, we’re using less than 400,” Governor Reeves said.
While the numbers may continue to fluctuate, the Governor also stated that the number of ventilators and ICU beds in use has recently declined.
So, what is next for Mississippi?
When asked about the possibility of extending the order, Governor Reeves offered the following answer while stating that a “yes or no answer is not practical at this time”.
“We are likely to, for instance, extend ‘shelter-in-place’ for those individuals that are in the highest risk category of contracting the virus and ultimately passing away from it. I do not think there is a very high probability that we will extend the ‘shelter-in-place’ in its entirety on Monday, but I do think as we look at various regions and various industries, I think it’s fair to say that we are going to, much like we did this week, continue to loosen restrictions from state government,” he went on to say.
When the order was extended until April 27th, certain restrictions on small businesses were lifted to allow for drive-thru, curbside and delivery sales.
While conversations regarding the reopening of the state economy continue, the Governor has continued to reiterate that this will be a long process and there is not a “light switch” that will return things to normal right away.
COVID-19 isn’t the only challenge facing Mississippi as severe weather and historic unemployment continue to disrupt lives across the state. With that said, the Governor announced that formississippi.org has been selected as the state’s official disaster fund.
“There are many of our fellow Mississippians that are hurting. Between the historic flooding, historic tornadoes, historic pandemic and historic surge in unemployment, there is a greater need for help in Mississippi than at any time in modern memory,” he said.
Through a partnership between the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service and the Community Foundation for Mississippi, donations will be distributed to local organizations providing supplies and assistance to those in need.