As cooler weather hits the area, positive COVID-19 cases are back on the rise.
Gov. Tate Reeves reinstated a mask mandate and stricter limits on social gatherings to an additional seven counties on Monday bringing the total to 16 where cases have spiked the most.
Reeves also said he would not mandate mask wearing for voting in next Tuesday’s election – even in the counties where he has reinstated the mask mandate – because he feels it would be unconstitutional.
Alcorn County remains off the new mask mandate list even after reporting case number 1,000 late last week. Monday’s report gave Alcorn a total of 1,011 COVID-19 cases with 12 of those resulting in fatalities.
According to the health department, Alcorn County’s positivity rate continues to hover around 15 percent with more white people by several hundred contracting the virus than Blacks.
Magnolia Regional Health Center said they have tested 5,472 patients for COVID-19 since late spring and 17 people are currently being treated at the hospital for the virus.
In the local school systems, Corinth is reporting two staffers are currently in quarantine. Those employees had limited contact with students and no students are in quarantine at the moment.
The Alcorn School District reported on Monday a total of six new positive cases including two employees at Alcorn Central Elementary School, one employee at Kossuth High School and three students at Alcorn Central High School. The new numbers bring totals to 10 instructional employees, one non-instructional employee and 15 students currently in quarantine in the county school district.
Current counties with a mask mandate in place are Harrison, Madison, Marshall, Jones, Carroll, Leake and Benton adding to the counties announced last week including Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee and Neshoba.
According to Reeves, other counties will be added if they reach a threshold of more than 200 recent cases, or 500 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, depending on the population size of the county.
Mask wearing is required in public in these counties and social gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 50 outdoors.
A statewide mask mandate was in place from Aug. 4 to Sept. 30. During that span, the seven-day average for Mississippi cases dropped to 54 percent according to Mississippi Today.
New cases reported Monday totaled 675 bringing the caseload to 115,763 with a little over 101,000 of those people presumed to have recovered. The death toll for Mississippi is 3,263.