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COVID-19 update: 33 new cases, one new death in Lincoln

Thirty-three positive cases of COVID-19 have been added to Lincoln County’s case total since Friday, bringing that number to 1,355. There has been one new death, raising the county’s death toll to 55, according to data reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Statewide, 3,183 new cases have been reported in that same time period. Thursday’s report included more than 1,300 new cases followed by 1,116 more on Friday.

There were 31 new deaths reported Tuesday, including one in Lincoln County, upping the statewide total to 3,202 — an increase of 50 since Friday.

MSDH presumes 97,675 people have recovered from the virus.

Thursday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced additional measures to slow the spread of the virus.

The new executive order places a 10% capacity requirement on healthcare facilities across the state. If hospitals cannot maintain 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients, they must delay elective procedures. This was a vital part of the effort to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed during the summer wave. Mississippi’s COVID-19 cases have increased over the past few weeks — part of a global and national trend of increasing cases.

The governor also announced additional targeted measures for counties which meet the standards established during the summer wave. In these counties, indoor social gatherings should be limited to groups of 10. Outdoor social gatherings should be limited to groups of 50. Face coverings are required while indoors and interacting with the public without social distancing.

“We’ve seen this before. We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control, and so we want to be proactive to prevent that from happening,” said Reeves. “None of these elements are silver bullets. None of them will totally eliminate the virus. We have to allow for life to go on in the meantime. As we wait for a vaccine, our mission is the same as it ever was: to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. That has to be the focus.”

The counties with additional COVID-19 safety measures are Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee and Neshoba.

Counties must meet the following criteria for additional measures: more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents over a designated two-week period or more than 200 cases total over the designated two-week period (with more than 200 cases per 100,000 residents).

“We’re not trying to prevent any specific individuals from contracting the virus. At this point, several months in, you know the risk of any given activity,” Reeves said. “We’re trying to prevent so many individuals from getting the virus at once that our healthcare system can’t respond. And if our healthcare system is overwhelmed, that means we can’t respond to a car wreck or heart attack the right way. It affects everyone.”

Reeves said he and the state’s leadership will keep trying to set policies that mitigate rampant spread of the virus while respecting everyone’s individual rights.

“You’re smart. You know what you need to do to keep safe,” he said. “Please stay watchful and be careful. We can get through this together.”