(March 29 update) As of Sunday morning, a total of 758 positive cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi have been reported by the state Health Department, which is 95 more than Friday morning's report. One new reported death has been received, bringing the total number of people who have died from the illness to 14.
In DeSoto County, 71 cases have been reported, which is the most of any county in the state and six more from Saturday. An update on numbers and COVID-19 information from the state is found here.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Saturday morning reported the first death from coronavirus in DeSoto County. State officials are no longer providing specific details about people who have died from coronavirus.
DeSoto County EMS posted a list of facilities in the county that will test on a limited basis. Please contact the facility before arrival as testing requirements vary by facility. For an updated list of testing facilities, CLICK HERE.
MSDH has a hotline number available to answer questions about COVID-19. The number is 877-978-6453 and is open 24 hours a day.
GOVERNMENTS: Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite Saturday morning issued what he called a "Stay-Away Order" for residents to take more seriously the Civil Emergency Ordinance issued on March 22. The executive order requires citizens to adhere to the Civil Emergency Ordinance and "will use any and all resources available to enforce the order." Musselwhite explained his order and his position on his Mayor's Report blog post.
Southaven and Olive Branch city governments have civil emergencies in place. The ordinances restrict large gatherings and curtails inside restaurant, bar, gym, and other activities.
DeSoto County supervisors Sunday also have passed a proclamation urging practice "stay at home" measures and strongly urged similar practices about doing business and refraining from gatherings of more than 10 people.
Mayors of Olive Branch and Southaven also issued a joint proclamation adding more details on their specific ordinance directives each body passed. CLICK HERE to read the joint proclamation.
Be sure to also check each city's official website and the official DeSoto County website for updated information.
Hernando and Horn Lake aldermen have approved ordinances that also declared civil emergencies in their communities. The ordinances reflected similar action taken in Olive Branch and Southaven.
Both boards also called special meetings to make amendments to their ordinances. The Horn Lake resolution adds carry out and take out food service to the list of allowable activities and adds restrictions of 10 people or less in a restaurant, including employees/employers.
The Hernando resolution allows restaurants to accept customers entering for carry out orders only and again must adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines.
Hernando aldermen also passed an ordinance that would provide for a fine and/or jail time for violations of the civil emergency resolution.
DeSoto County Tax Assessor Jeff Fitch announced the state has moved the deadline for filing homestead tax exemptions from April 1 to May 1.
HOSPITALS: Both Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto and Methodist Olive Branch Hospital have announced new visitor guidelines that limit the number of visitors allowed at the facility. A separate story on that is found on our website.
THE DESOTO COUNTY MUSEUM announced it would temporarily suspend its operating hours until such time when public health officials decide that public spaces such as the museum can safely open their doors to the public.
SCHOOL UPDATE: Gov. Tate Reeves Thursday, March 19 announced that all Mississippi schools are to be closed until April 17. A story on our website details how DeSoto County Schools (DCS) responded by approving continued paid administrative leave while employees remain on call until schools reopen.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association followed by its announcement the sports and extracurricular activities would also be suspended until April 17.
DCS offers all children up to age 18 a free "Grab and Go" meal Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for the time being at these locations: Horn Lake Intermediate, Southaven Intermediate, and Chickasaw Elementary in Olive Branch, Lake Cormorant Elementary, Hernando Hills Elementary, and DeSoto Central Elementary. Hours are 10 a.m.-12 noon each day. One meal will be offered on Mondays and two meals will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at each location.
In collaboration with the DCS Grab and Go program, The Church United, a group of local churches, will offer free meal boxes on Monday and Friday evenings, from 5-7 p.m. each day. The meal boxes will be distributed at Crosspointe Church, 6400 Blocker Street in Olive Branch; Hunger2Hope, 9105 Highway 51 N. in Southaven; and the DeSoto County Dream Center, 6935 Windchase Drive in Horn Lake. A photo ID is required and each site is accepting donated food for the program. Only one box per week per household will be distributed.
Northpoint Christian School will continue with remote learning and will remain closed through at least April 3, according to Head of School Jim Ferguson. He said his plan is to make a decision by Wednesday of each week about the school's status for the week ahead.
BUSINESS: A Facebook page detailing support for and information regarding the DeSoto County business community has been established. Go to DeSoto County Commerce COVID-19 on Facebook to find the page or CLICK HERE.
ALL Mississippi small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 are now eligible for SBA economic disaster aid. Learn how to apply. CLICK HERE
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) reported that Mississippi workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. These temporary measures will help relieve the financial hardship of temporary layoffs by making unemployment benefits available to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19. This helps not only individuals but also employers by helping them retain their workforce and stabilizing local economies. CLICK HERE for more details.
OLIVE BRANCH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE has postponed its Miss Olive Branch Scholarship Pageant until May 2. The new deadline for having the required items turned in is now April 24 for contestants.
FIRST REGIONAL LIBRARY: All libraries have been closed until further notice.
TAX DAY MOVED: The Internal Revenue Service on March 21 moved the Tax Day deadline from April 15 to July 15 to file personal income taxes. CLICK HERE for details.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue Tuesday evening, March 23, announced that the state income tax deadline had been moved to May 15. CLICK HERE for details from the state department's official website.