Although Scott County did not see a spike in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 as did the State Mississippi last week, the numbers locally do continue to rise. In an effort to combat the virus Forest city leaders were scheduled to meet with business owners Wednesday morning for a one-on-one session designed to slow down the spread.
“We’re going to talk about what we are seeing,” Mayor Nancy Chambers said Tuesday. “We’re hoping we can get businesses to make masks mandatory without us having to issue an executive order doing so...but we are prepared to issue an executive order. We don’t want to get to a position where we have to close businesses down.”
Chambers also warned residents about large gatherings this weekend in celebration of the Fourth of July.
“What I would say is that gatherings are very risky,” the mayor said. “You are exposed to it. You take it back home and it becomes a problem for people that are suspectable to it. People need to understand that this virus does permanent damage to people’s lungs. You may survive the virus but you may have some permanent damage. On July Fourth you don’t need to be in large gatherings. You need to be staying at home!”
Lackey Memorial Hospital CEO Sydney Sawyer, RN, who was scheduled to speak to business leaders Wednesday morning, agreed that the number of positive cases still being seen in Scott County are a concern.
“Things have picked up a little bit,” Sawyer said Tuesday. “We are still not seeing just tons and tons of positives, but we are seeing them. We had nine positive yesterday and 48 negative. That’s not terrible, but I think if we don’t get back to some of the measures we had in place (face masks and social distancing), after the Fourth holiday, with nobody wearing masks, I think we are going to get to seeing some problems in three or four weeks.”
Sawyer said he is very concerned about the fall of the year and the inevitable Influenza season. “We see lots of flu every year,” Sawyer said. “Our hospital stays full with flu every year. We are trying to prepare as best as we can for that and we want everybody to start thinking and preparing. We’re are doing pretty good, I just don’t want to go backwards. I’m worried about it. We need to all come together to do what we can.”
As of Tuesday’s daily report from the Mississippi State Department of Health there were 733 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Scott County and 15 reported deaths. That is an increase of 26 cases since the same time period last week and one additional death.
Statewide cases have soared in the last week with the highest daily reportings since the pandemic began. As of Tuesday there have been 26,567 positive cases reported since March 11 and 1,059 deaths.
Last Friday, Governor Tate Reeves extended his Safe Return order an additional week in an effort limit transmission as cases rise in the state. The order to extend the social distancing guidelines and restrictions under the Safe Return order now are set to expire at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 6.
“The threat is far from over,” the governor said. “Extending our Safe Return order will give us much-needed time to assess this rapidly-changing situation and adapt our response to slow the spread. We’re taking every step possible at the state-level to protect public health, but we can’t do it alone. The only way through this pandemic is together. I urge my fellow Mississippians to do their part to help limit transmission in their communities and take care of each other.”
Pictured: As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, even spiking in some areas of Mississippi, life in general has somewhat stabilized. Bob Webb, was peddling his fresh vegies last week at the Forest Farmer’s Market where shoppers tried to stay safe behind masks.