Gov. Tate Reeves added 19 counties to the mask mandate under his executive order on Tuesday, bringing the total to 41, or half of the state’s counties.

Asked repeatedly during a press briefing about a statewide mask mandate, Reeves responded that there is no “one silver bullet,” and that it’s important to pinpoint counties with rising case numbers rather than enacting a blanket order.

“There is no one single bullet, there is no one thing that we can do as a state, there is no one thing that I as a leader or we as a state can do to make this go away,” Reeves said.

He went on to compare Mississippi’s rate of new cases compared to other states, including those with statewide mandates. As of Sunday, Mississippi ranked 35th in daily new cases per capita.

In addition to the 22 counties already under a mandate, the 19 new ones are: Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lowndes, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Prentiss, Stone, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union.

Reeves’ continued refusal to implement a statewide mandate comes a day after a top health official in the state called on him to do so.

Of the 41 counties under a mandate, Reeves said four no longer met the threshold used for the rule, but he kept them under the mandate because cases were still relatively high. The criteria are that a county must have, over a two-week period, over 200 new cases — as well as 200 cases per 100,00 people — or over 500 cases per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, Mississippi as a whole has met both those marks for five straight days now.

We want to hear from you!

Central to our mission at Mississippi Today is inspiring civic engagement. We think critically about how we can foster healthy dialogue between people who think differently about government and politics. We believe that conversation — raw, earnest talking and listening to better understand each other — is vital to the future of Mississippi. We encourage you to engage with us and each other on our social media accounts, email our reporters directly or leave a comment for our editor by clicking the button below.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Alex Rozier, a native of New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data reporter. He analyzes data and creates visuals that further inform our reporting. He also reports on the environment, transportation and Mississippi culture and is a member of the engagement team. Alex, whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe and Open Secrets, has a bachelor’s in journalism from Boston University.