As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mississippi, speculation about whether Gov. Tate Reeves will reinstate a mask mandate has also grown.
Monday, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson tweeted that the state should reconsider implementing a mandate once again.
In the absence of a vaccine and an increase of infections in Mississippi, the state should reconsider implementing a statewide mask mandate. We should follow Dr. Fauci’s and other recommendations requiring wearing masks in public.
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) October 19, 2020
After a surge in July and August put the state’s hospitals in danger of being overwhelmed, the governor allowed the statewide mandate to expire Sept. 30 after cases in Mississippi fell throughout most of September. The Magnolia State was the only state to drop its mandate. Cases in Mississippi leveled off toward the end of the month.
Cases began rising again in October. Last week’s seven-day averages reached a high of nearly 800 cases with two days, Thursday and Friday, reporting more than 1,000 cases each. During the same time frame in September, seven-day averages were generally under 500.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said last week that he expects the governor to announce measures to curb COVID-19 cases, possibly mandating masks on a county-by-county basis instead of statewide. He admitted, though, that he did not know Reeves’ plan of action.
Thursday in a social media post, Reeves said he wanted to be “cautious and limited in using executive action.”
Dobbs has expressed increasing concern over the number of rising cases.
“I do think we are on the front end of something that could be bad,” he said in a Zoom meeting Oct. 12 before the week’s worst numbers came in.
“The last time we saw that was before the summer surge. That doesn’t mean we can’t turn that around. It’s not that hard,” he added.
The governor will hold a live news conference Monday at 2:30 p.m.