Miss. – Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he is working to address the recent surge in COVID cases without issuing a statewide mask mandate.
Friday, Mississippi reported more than 5,023 new COVID cases, its largest single day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic.
“This current wave seems to be more and more a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Reeves said.
The state is hoping to use private companies to staff hospitals.
“Our challenge is much less about the physical aspect of hospital beds or the physical aspect of ICU beds and it’s much more about actually staffing them,” Reeves said.
He says Mississippi lost nearly 2,000 healthcare workers in the last year, but that’s not the only concern. State leaders say nearly 90 percent of current hospitalizations are among those not vaccinated, and sadly, many don’t make it home.
“We’ve lost four healthy people in their 20s, two of whom were pregnant, zero vaccinated,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, state health officer. “If we look at those in their 30s, in the past four days, we’ve lost ten people in their 30s and these aren’t people who are chronically ill or cancer patients. These are normal people who were at work a couple of weeks ago.”
Reeves says vaccines are the best way to get back to some sort of normalcy.
“I believe the vaccines are safe. I believe they are effective, and I believe they are the best tool we have moving forward to beat the virus,” Reeves said.
According to the CDC, Mississippi has the second lowest vaccination rate in the country. Despite those lows number, the governor reiterated he won’t support a statewide mask mandate, not even for schools.
“I don’t have any intention of issuing a statewide mask mandate for any category of Mississippians at this time,” Reeves said.