Mississippi’s seven-day case average shows a steep increase over the summer.
Mississippi’s seven-day case average shows a steep increase over the summer.
After a couple weeks on the decline last month, cases in Neshoba County and throughout the state continue to rapidly increase as a new daily record of positive cases was announced Tuesday. 

The Mississippi Department of Health announced 1,635 new cases and 31 new deaths, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 45,524. There have been 1,389 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Gov. Tate Reeves is urging all Mississippians to practice social distancing and wear face masks. He has issued executive orders requiring face masks in 23 counties, although Neshoba is not listed as one. He has stopped shy of issuing a statewide mask order, saying outbreaks in some places shouldn’t impact smaller counties that are faring much better.

On Monday, Reeves once again pleaded on Facebook for Mississippians to take the pandemic seriously.

“Throughout this pandemic, everyone has leapt for the ‘silver bullet’ solution,” he said. “Every few weeks, there seems to be a new shiny object that will protect us all. First it was more ventilators. Then it was a shelter-in-place. Testing and contract tracing. Now a statewide mask mandate.

“Here’s the hard truth — there’s no single answer,” he continued. “All of those measures can be useful. None can be our savior. There’s no magic solution coming to save us all from personal responsibility. There is no piece of paper that I can sign to make this go away.”

Reeves said he was frustrated by the “smug dismissal of masks” at the beginning of the pandemic but said masks are better than another lockdown.
“COVID-19 is extremely dangerous,” he said. “School closures are dangerous. Mass unemployment is dangerous. Those aren’t contradictory ideas. We have to mitigate the damage from all of them. Pretending this is simple, when it’s so obviously not, makes intelligent people stop listening.”

Reeves did not hold a press conference on Tuesday. 

Neshoba County has the second highest infection rate in the state, with 3,822 per 100,000 residents. Claiborne County has the highest at 3,939. Mississippi as a whole is 1,530 per 100,000 residents.

A month ago, the state’s death rate had been cut by 31% since May, data show, but the rate has again risen throughout July. Hospitalizations, ICU cases and ventilator usage has also risen.

As of Tuesday, Neshoba had 1,113 confirmed cases of the virus, with 107 of those cases in long-term care facilities. There was an increase of 63 cases here within the last week. There have been 82 deaths here attributed to the virus, with 34 of those coming from long-term care facilities. 

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has reported a total of 1011 positive cases among Tribal members, with nearly half of those coming from the Pearl River community. Conehatta had 150 cases, with Standing Pine accounting for 122 cases. The Tribe has tested 3,114 members, with 2,050 negative results. Of the positive cases, 771 have recovered, 71 have died and 13 are hospitalized. 

Last week, state officials announced that municipalities and counties in the state will be eligible for money appropriated by the legislature through CARES Act funds to help defray expenses associated with battling COVID-19. The total pot of $70 million will be disbursed to municipalities and counties based on population. 

Philadelphia has been allocated $175,126.22 by the state and Union will receive $23,281.46 for its Neshoba County population. Neshoba County has been allocated $496,663.29 by the state.