Thirteen people in Leflore County had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

That’s three more than were recorded a day earlier.

It’s unclear if any of the newly infected are hospitalized or quarantined at home. There have been no coronavirus-related deaths in Leflore County, although the statewide total jumped to five Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Pillow Academy announced that it will be out for at least another week. In an email to parents, Rodney Brown, the private school’s headmaster, said it would continue with distance learning at least through April 3 and monitor the situation on a weekly basis. Public schools in Greenwood and throughout the state are closed to students through at least April 17, by an order of Gov. Tate Reeves.


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Across the state, 377 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and five Mississippians’ deaths have been attributed to it, according to the Health Department.

Mississippi recorded its first COVID-19 death on March 19. The four additional deaths reported Wednesday include:

• A Holmes County man, between 60 and 65 years old, with underlying health conditions.

• A Webster County man, between 65 and 70, with underlying health conditions.

• A Wilkinson County man, age 85 to 90, with underlying health conditions.

• A Tunica County woman, age 75 to 80.

The three men died in the hospital; the woman died in a long-term care facility.

According to the Health Department, 31% of people who have the coronavirus have had to be hospitalized; 68% of cases have not. For the remaining 1%, it’s unknown whether people have had to be hospitalized.

Most people infected with the coronavirus only get mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover in weeks. Many, however, will need hospitalization. Those most vulnerable to getting severely ill from the virus are older adults with existing health problems, who can develop severe complications such as pneumonia.

Due to the limited number of test kits in the state, the Health Department advises that only people who have a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater along with a severe cough or chest pain be tested.

Local and state officials have adopted social distancing measures to limit the spread of the virus.

On Monday, the Greenwood City Council passed a mandate that limits gatherings to no more than 10 people at a variety of institutions, such as retail stores, bars, restaurants, churches, and civic and fraternal clubs. The mandate also applies to funerals, weddings and other social gatherings.

Essential businesses, which are not affected by the mandate, include grocery stores, city government services (such as the police and fire departments), pharmacies and banks, to name a few.

Mayor Carolyn McAdams has encouraged restaurants to suspend dine-in services and only offer take-out. Many restaurants have complied with the mayor’s recommendation.

The second part of the city’s mandate ordered businesses and government entities that are open to enact various safeguards to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as implementing social distancing, sending sick employees home, ensuring employees practice proper hygiene and that workplaces are kept cleaned and sanitized.

Partly in response to a hodge-podge of local restrictions across Mississippi, Reeves issued an executive order Tuesday that applies statewide. In instances where a municipal or county government’s directive conflicts with the Republican governor’s order,  the governor’s order overrules it.

Similar to Greenwood’s mandate, the governor’s order prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people at a single place, with the exception of health-care facilities and grocery stores, to name a few examples.

Restaurants and bars have been ordered to suspend dine-in services unless they can reduce their capacity to no more than 10 people.

Visits to hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilties have been prohibited except to provide critical assistance or to visit residents receiving “imminent end-of-life care.”

Visitors may be allowed if a supervising physician or other health-care worker determines that such a visit wouldn’t pose an “unreasonable risk” to staff or residents of the facilities.

Reeves’ order lists a host of governmental entities and businesses that are exempt from most of its restrictions, although he encourages even businesses labeled as “essential” to have employees work from home where practicable.

Essential businesses or operations include, among others,  first responders, medical clinics and other health-care services; food-processing plants and farms; manufacturers; the news media; banks; and child-care programs.

The essential businesses are advised to “take all reasonable measures” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by complying with recommendations provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Health Department. Those include practicing social distancing and sending sick employees home and encouraging those who are sick to stay home.

The executive order permits religious entities to remain open as long as they adhere to recommendations set forth by the CDC and the Health Department, including the limit of 10 persons in a gathering or less.

The Greenwood mandate approved Monday was to last 15 days, but it can be shortened or lengthened by the council.

The governor’s executive order is in effect until April 17.

McAdams said Wednesday that the city’s mandate would stay in effect as long as the governor’s executive order does.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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