The COVID-19 state of emergency declared by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is set to expire this Friday. The declaration has been in place since the early days of the pandemic and its expiration marks a turning point in the state’s fight against the virus.
The state of emergency has been fundamental in the continuation of several measures in place to help guide the state through the pandemic. Under State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs’s direction, the COVID-19 System of Care plan allowed hospitals to coordinate the allocation of resources and hospital beds, ensuring that COVID-19 patients received the best care possible.
The state of emergency allowed the National Guard to be deployed to assist with tasks like vaccine administration, as they did in Lafayette county. Additionally, it gave state agencies the authority to provide paid administrative leave to its employees due to COVID-19 related issues.
These and more are fixtures of Mississippi’s state of emergency and will expire with it.
Reeves points to vaccination rates and management of hospitalizations as reasons the state of emergency is no longer necessary.
“With more than 3,000,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine having been administered in Mississippi and with COVID-19 infections and resulting hospitalizations being effectively managed, it is time to end the state of emergency in Mississippi,” Reeves said on Twitter. “It will expire on November 20.”
When Reeves first declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020, the state was averaging 1.71 cases per day. Over a year later in August 2021, during the virus’s peak in Mississippi, the state was averaging as many as 3,526 cases per day.
Over half a million Mississippians have contracted the virus. 10,203 Mississippians have died. The price of living through and fighting this pandemic in Mississippi has not been cheap.
As Reeves continues to take steps toward normalcy, some are sounding the alarm that we are not out of the woods yet, warning of a winter surge similar to the one we saw last year. As for now, 46.4% of Mississippians are fully vaccinated. In Lafayette county, that percentage rises to 51% fully vaccinated. Cases continue to decline overall with 806 new cases over three days reported yesterday, Nov. 15.