Governor lifts most COVID restrictions as infections fall


As more people are getting vaccinated and COVID-19 infection and death rates fall, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves last Friday erased most restrictions he had set to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Reeves left one restriction in place — a mandate for students who are 6 or older to wear masks in schools for the rest of the current academic year. The school year ends within the next few weeks in most parts of the state.

The governor's new executive order removes capacity restrictions for sports events. Previously, indoor arenas could only fill two-thirds of their seats to allow for social distancing. School sporting events and other extracurricular activities were limited to 50% capacity for both indoor and outdoor events.

Reeves had already removed mask requirements in public spaces and all capacity restrictions for restaurants, bars and other businesses.

Neshoba County’s total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began is now 4,028 which is four more than last week and the death toll remains at 176 where it has been for at least three weeks, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Tuesday COVID-19 report.

Meanwhile, 17% of Neshoba County’s population is fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to MSDH and 20% of the county’s population has received one of the 10,503 total doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the county.

Vaccinations are being administered Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Coliseum, 12000 Hwy 15 North, Philadelphia and are available to all Mississippians 16 and older.

Neshoba County Schools reported between one and five new cases of COVID-19 among students with four students quarantined at Neshoba Central High School between April 19 and 23. 

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has reported four new positive cases of COVID-19 over the past week as of May 3, putting the total number of positive cases for the Tribe at 1,837 with 114 deaths.

The state's total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 191,117 with 121,491 probable cases for a total of 312,608 cases as of Tuesday and 4,976 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and another 2,245 probable COVID-19 deaths for a total of 7,221 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The governor said he still encourages people to wear face coverings, maintain social distance and wash their hands while around other people. He said people who feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend social events.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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