Gov. Tate Reeves speaks to media about his shelter-in-place order for Lauderdale County during a press conference at the State of Mississippi Woolfolk Building in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Gov. Tate Reeves, who for weeks resisted calls to issue a statewide order requiring residents to stay at home, is finalizing plans to issue such an order — a decision that comes amid mounting pressure from the state’s top medical leaders and lawmakers.

Sources familiar with Reeves’ plans told Mississippi Today that Reeves could announce the statewide stay-at-home order as early as Wednesday afternoon. The governor’s decision, sources said, was based in part on models showing Mississippi’s cases peaking near the end of April and early May.

For weeks, Reeves has maintained that the spread of cases in Mississippi did not yet warrant such action, also citing the potential effect of a shutdown on the state’s economy. As of Wednesday morning, governors in at least 33 states had issued some form of statewide shelter-in-place order.

But between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, the walls closed in on Reeves as he faced increased pressure from state medical professionals and elected officials as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continued climbing.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, the vice chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, sent Reeves a grim plea for a “shelter in place” order in an email on Wednesday morning. She pointed out that if models of the virus’ spread in Mississippi are accurate, the need for intensive-care unit beds and ventilators “will surpass our resources.”

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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Erica Hensley, a native of Atlanta, has been working as an investigative reporter focusing on public health for Mississippi Today since May 2018. She is a Knight Foundation fellow for our newsroom’s collaboration with local TV station WLBT and curates The Inform[H]er, our monthly women and girls’ newsletter. She is the 2019 recipient of the Doris O'Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship. Erica received a bachelor’s in print journalism and political science from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a master’s in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia Grady College for Journalism and Mass Communication.