This morning, Gov. Tate Reeves extended the executive order mandating masks in public for DeSoto County through Dec. 11. The order, which had been set to expire today, imposes limits on social gatherings and requires the wearing of a face mask while in public in 15 counties, including DeSoto County.
The counties currently under the mask mandate are: Benton, Carroll, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Humphreys, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Lee, Marshall, Rankin and Yalobusha.
“I know that we are all tired and ready to move on. But the virus is still here,” Gov. Reeves said in an announcement this morning. “It’s still working to infect and kill. We’ve gotten far better at dealing with it, and allowing for life to go on. But we’re not all the way there yet. Keep fighting and protecting the most vulnerable in your life. No matter where you are, please do your best to social distance and wear a mask.”
Gov. Reeves was expected to announce an extension of the executive order during a Tuesday press conference, which was abruptly postponed after one of Reeves’ daughters tested positive for COVID-19.
“She feels OK, but could still use prayers! Please pray for her momma too!” Reeves tweeted on Tuesday. “Our entire family will be getting tested again and isolating for the time being.”
The state has seen a spike in cases since Gov. Reeves lifted the statewide mask mandate at the end of September. Mississippi's state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, visited DeSoto County on Oct. 8 and expressed concern that the state would return to peak levels of virus transmission. He also raised alarm over a decline in Mississippians following public health guidelines seen since the mask mandate was lifted.
Reeves reissued the mask mandate — which had broad approval from local health care professionals — for DeSoto County on Oct. 19.
DeSoto County has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, with 8,328 confirmed. DeSoto only trails behind Hinds County, the state's most populous, which has 8,596 cases.