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COVID Update: Mask mandate extended 2 weeks

Gov. Tate Reeves extended the statewide mask mandate Monday by two weeks, along with most other restrictions.

The only change Reeves made was eliminating the cap of two spectators per participant at high school sporting events. A limit of 25% capacity remains in place for stadiums, gyms and other venues, with social distancing maintained between groups of family members.

The prohibition of tailgating at college games remains in place for two more weeks.

“I’d rather be in the South where we can’t have tailgating, where we have rules in place but we are going to have football, than to be in the Pac-12 where they’re not even going to have football,” Reeves said.

Both Reeves and the state epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers, urged Mississippi residents to continue to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19 during the Labor Day weekend. Mississippi saw an increase in virus cases after people had gatherings during the Memorial Day weekend and July 4.

The state Health Department said Tuesday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has had at least 82,950 reported cases and at least 2,473 deaths from COVID-19 as of Monday evening. That’s an increase of 274 confirmed cases and 32 deaths from numbers reported the day before; the figure included 19 deaths that occurred between July 8 and Aug. 24, with information from death certificates arriving later.

Lincoln County had totals of 974 cases and 51 deaths, up 20 cases and one death from Friday. There have been 129 cases and 30 deaths in long term care facilities in the county, with no changes in recent reported numbers.

The true number of virus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick. The virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most but can be more severe or fatal for some, especially older adults and those with underlying health conditions.