As teachers returned to their classrooms this week in preparation for the eventual return of students, Governor Tate Reeves finally made a decision to postpone the start of school in parts of Mississippi.where “hot spots” have been declared. Scott County School District and Forest Municipal School District, however, were not named in the executive order so back to school plans locally should proceed as previously announced.
The governor did announce a statewide mask mandate in public gatherings for two weeks “in a push to allow schools to reopen safely.”
In the meantime Forest Mayor Nancy Chambers and Lackey Memorial Hospital CEO Sydney Sawyer, RN, agreed that most Forest and Scott County residents are doing their part to flatten the curve when it comes to positive COVID-19 cases.
“Our situation is holding right now,” Chambers said Tuesday morning. “Our people are doing what they need to be doing. Our people are doing everything that they can. We are not anticipating in the city any kind of additional executive orders unless the governor comes out with something new.”
Sawyer echoed the mayor’s words. “We’re kind of holding our own,” he said. “We’ve seen some pretty sick people the last couple of days but we have not seen the rush we anticipated. I think that is because of masks.”
The CEO, however, did reiterate the warnings he has been issuing for months now. “The big hospitals are still full and we are having difficulty transferring people at times,” he said. “But there are people getting better. They are doing a good job treating it. They keep getting better at treating it, but it is still tight. We are not out of the woods. School is supposed to start next week and the flu is on the way. It’s scary.”
Mayor Chambers also said that in an effort to help those in need, the Mississippi Food Network, Tyson and the City of Forest will host a food giveaway this Thursday, August 6 beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Gaddis Park. Tyson, along with the Salvation Army sponsored a food giveaway in late April as the coronavirus pandemic began to soar and long lines formed early with people hoping to get one of the 300 boxes available.
As of Tuesday’s daily update from the Mississippi State Department of Health, Scott County was reporting 962 positive cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths bringing the death toll to 19 since reporting began March 11. Statewide there were 1,074 new cases reported Tuesday and 42 additional deaths bring the total to 62,199 recorded positive cases and 1,753 deaths. An estimated 42,391 patients are presumed to have recovered since the pandemic began.
Also on Tuesday, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs MD, MPH, issued a statewide order for the Isolation of Individuals Diagnosed with COVID-19 effective immediately.
The Order — issued to everyone living in Mississippi — stipulates that anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 must immediately isolate at home.
“We have a lot of COVID activity throughout the state right now, so it is absolutely critical that anyone infected with COVID-19, and not hospitalized, must remain in the home or other appropriate residential location for 14 days from onset of illness (or from the date of a positive test for those who are asymptomatic),” Dobbs said.
The failure or refusal to obey the lawful order of a health officer is, at a minimum, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500.00 (41-3-59) or imprisonment for six months or both. If a life-threatening disease is involved, failure or refusal to obey the lawful order of a health officer is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.00 or imprisonment for up to five years or both (41-23-2).
Persons infected with COVID-19 should limit exposure to household contacts. No visitors should be allowed in the home. Please stay in a specific room away from others in your home. Use a separate bathroom if available. If you need to be around others in your home, you should wear a facemask. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html for guidance on preventing transmission in the home.
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