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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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