Face coverings still mandatory in Scott County by order of the governor

By TIM BEELAND,

With face masks mandatory by order of the governor for at least another week in Scott County, routine celebrations, such as a group of Girl Scouts honoring law enforcement during Officer Appreciation Week, take on a whole new look. But with the number of positive cases of coronavirus still rising and four additional deaths in the county in the past week it is not looks that matter, it is public safety.

Forest Mayor Nancy Chambers said Tuesday things seem to be getting better within the city. “It looks like things are slowing down a little bit. We have fewer cases (of COVID-19) today than we’ve had in a long time in the city,” Chambers said. “Unfortunately it looks like it might still be spreading out in the county. All of our retail business are open.  Restaurants are open for inside and outside dining following the governor’s guidelines for distancing. The park is still closed except for the walking trail and we will reevaluate that after Memorial Day.”

Chambers said that there is still a possibility that the Splash Pad could be open for private parties this summer but that too would be reevaluated after Memorial Day.

“City Hall reopened on Monday,” the mayor said, “but you must wear a mask to come inside. If you don’t have a mask use the drop box.” She also reminded business owners to take responsibility for the safety of their customers.

“If you have a business, your folks are supposed to be wearing a mask,” Chambers said. “If you let people in your business without a mask it is on you.”

Lackey Memorial Hospital CEO Sydney Sawyer, RN, agreed that the spread of the virus in Forest seems to have slowed down.

“Our positives have gone down a lot compared to what it was two weeks ago. It is probably half or less,” Sawyer said. “I think one of the reasons you will see our positives come down some more is because of the mandatory face masks. I know it probably isn’t a popular thing, but it is helping.”

As of Tuesday morning, Sawyer said there were six COVID-19 positive cases in the hospital which is about the same number that is hospitalized each week in Lackey with the virus. “They come in and out,” Sawyer said, “but most get to go home.”

Sawyer said that they tested 50 people in the clinic on Monday which is probably the biggest day they have seen, adding that “we are getting a lot of people now that are wanting to be tested that are not sick, and we are doing that.”

Sawyer said that the hospital is currently in the process of creating some informational videos using survivors of COVID-19 from the area. They hope to have the first one complete and posted at www.LackeyMemorialHospital.com by the end of the week.

“I do have concerns for this fall,” the CEO concluded. “This thing may come back, it may not, but we will be bracing for it and the flu. I don’t expect it to go away, I hope it does, but I don’t think it will.”

As of Tuesday the State Department of Health was reporting 11,704 cases of COVID-19 with 554 deaths in Mississippi. Nearly half of the deaths, 271, were in long-term care facilities. In Scott County, which ranked fourth statewide Tuesday for the number of positive cases of the virus there were 550 cases being reported with 10 deaths. That is up 75 cases from the same time last week with four additional deaths. Twelve of those cases are being reported in long-term care facilities as are two of the deaths.

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