Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday added an additional seven counties to the mask mandate. 

Those include: Harrison, Madison, Marshall, Jones, Carroll, Leake, and Benton. 

Last week, along with the mask mandate, Reeves issued several county specific COVID-19 restrictions. 

The counties listed in last week’s order included: Chickasaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Forrest, Itawamba, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, and Neshoba. 

The criteria for additional restrictions includes having more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks or more than 200 total cases over two weeks. 

According to executive order 1527, issued on Oct. 19, social gatherings in the counties with more restrictions are listed to no more than 10 people in a single indoor space or groups of no more than 50 in an outdoor space where individuals not in the same household are in close proximity (less than six feet). 

“We’ve always tried to be straight-up and transparent about what’s going on with Coronavirus in our state,” Reeves said Monday. “No false panic. No false positivity. I’m encouraged today that in the middle of a nationwide surge of cases, Mississippi has been slower than most other states to increase.” 

Reeves said that last week, there was a 17 percent decrease in seven-day numbers. 

“That’s good,” he said. “This weekend, we saw numbers go up slightly more than the previous weekend. That’s bad. None of this fits neatly into political narratives. It’s my job to give you the facts and help you assess the risk.” 

Reeves said that the state’s reproduction rate or “r-naught” is the “lowest in the nation.” 

“We are the only state that is currently under key number of 1.0,” he said. “That’s remarkable. Of course, nothing is inevitable. That can change, and it has changed before. But it is a great collective achievement by the people of Mississippi.” 

Reeves added that “we know that this is not over.” 

“We know that we are still in the middle of this fight,” he said. “People are tired. I’m tired of it. We need to find a way to deal with this that never returns to the economic lockdowns of the past. We need a sustainable plan. We believe that localized efforts to bring intense focus to those hardest hit areas is going to have the greatest impact.” 

Read the new order in its entirety at www.seacoastecho.com.

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