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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves preaching patience and caution despite ups and downs in the battle with COVID-19. About a month ago, Reeves re-opened the state but he reinstated some restrictions Monday in light of new cases.

COVID cases and rates are up across Mississippi, yet hospitalizations remain stable, but state leadership insists it’s not as simple as reading numbers off a spreadsheet.

“None of this fits neatly into a political narrative. It’s my job to give you the facts,” Reeves said.

Mississippi has 5,171 cases across the last seven days, but after an initial spike when the state re-opened, Reeves believes there are reasons for optimism, including the virus reproductive rate.

“Today, Mississippi has the lowest in the nation. And we are the only state that is currently under the key number of 1.0,” Reeves said.

But there is also points of concern across the Magnolia State. Reeves added seven counties to his list of restrictions and mask mandates, reaching a total of 16. He also made a point to call out disturbing trends in DeSoto County, where rates are high and safety precautions are low.

“It is probably for large counties in as bad a position, just looking at the quantitative numbers, as any large county in the state has been, throughout this entire pandemic,” Reeves said.

“I don’t recall at any time during this pandemic, one of our larger counties having a higher number of cases per 100,000 residents. I’ve seen other counties that are very small population centers have more than that obviously, but the combination of the total number of cases and the cases per 100,000… DeSoto County is at a point now in which it is probably, for large counties, in as bad a position just looking at the quantitative numbers, as any large county in the state has been throughout this entire pandemic.”

Governor Tate Reeves on DeSoto County

Election Day, now just 8 days away, presents a challenge. Mississippi is the only state not under a mask mandate while also not offering early or mail-in voting for all residents. Reeves said he does not anticipate a mask mandate at voting locations, hoping citizens will act in the interest of others.

“I think what you’re going to find is that we’re going to have a safe, secure election in our state. I think the vast majority of Mississippians are going to wear masks,” Reeves said.

DeSoto County is still the only county in the Mid-South with renewed restrictions, but Governor Reeves made it clear other counties will have them reapplied if their cases and rates continue to climb.