The new order does not have any statewide implications, unlike 32 other state orders. Reeves issued an executive order Tuesday, requiring residents in Lauderdale County to take refuge. This is the eighth-largest county in the state by population. It also houses Meridian. After a spike in confirmed cases, the order goes into effect Tuesday night at 10 p.m. It will last through April 14. Reeves indicated that more county shelter-in place orders will likely be issued in the coming days. Reeves stated at Tuesday’s press conference that “To be clear, just because Lauderdale County has the first shelter in place is not a sign that they have the highest number of cases or that there are no challenges elsewhere in Mississippi,” Reeves explained. “But they believe, and they recommended that I do this based on the data that is being collected by the state Department of Health.” Lauderdale County has now identified 35 cases of coronavirus. The first was a patient at Anderson Regional Medical Center, Meridian. Lauderdale County and the other east central Mississippi counties that lie along I-20 corridor were seen as stark gaps on a state map before March 25. Otherwise, they began to crowd with COVID-19 cases. Officials expect more cases to be identified in the coming days. The largest jump in Lauderdale County cases occurred between Monday and Tuesday. Officials from the Meridian area said Tuesday that testing had not been increased as fast as in other areas. This indicated that there was less cases than expected due to a lack testing. The lack of cases could be due to cases not being identified quickly enough, which can lead to rapid growth and the inability to isolate the sick. The state had only two Meridian testing clinics as of Tuesday. Cities like Hattiesburg and Laurel had four and three, respectively. While most hospitals will test patients, the clinics are more important for community-wide testing. Paul Byers, the state epidemiologist, warned Tuesday that pockets of unidentified patients can cause rapid growth in Lauderdale County and, consequently, shelter-in place orders. He said that if you are ill enough to test for COVID-19 you should immediately isolate. This will prevent any spread. It is not known how many tests were run in the county. As of Tuesday, the state had completed 4,454 tests. Commercial labs are expected to have done approximately 10,000 tests. Officials said that the state is not yet able to get total testing numbers from commercial laboratories, as opposed to other states. However, they expect to do so soon. Mississippi, with 336 tests per 100,000 residents, has the 16th highest number of testing per capita in the U.S. This could partly explain Mississippi’s higher case rate. It currently has 32 cases per 100,000 residents, making it the 14th most populous state in the country, according to The COVID Tracking Project testing data. Lauderdale County is home to 74,000 people, and others have multiplied since the initial case was discovered. Lauderdale County saw a faster growth rate per capita than any other county in the past week. Hinds and DeSoto counties saw a greater number of cases in the last week, with 59 and 55, respectively. At 90 cases, Hinds County has the highest number of cases in the state, followed by Desoto (84) and Harrison (45), which are closely related to the higher density of these counties. Rural areas are more affected by the smaller population. Wilkinson is the worst affected, with 16 cases per 10,000 residents. Tunica and Tippah are next at 12 each. These three counties account for 25% of the 20 COVID-related deaths in the state. Lauderdale currently has five hospitals that are not devoted solely to psychiatric treatment. They have 633 beds and 51 ICU beds. However, Reeves, the state’s COVID response group, and other hospitals are working together to increase swing-bed capacity in order to provide ICU-like space. There are approximately one bed per 115 residents of Lauderdale at the moment. Although hospitalization data is not broken down by county at this time, 32 percent of all Mississippi patients were admitted to the hospital as of Tuesday, which was about 300 people. There are currently 11 people in Lauderdale County who are hospitalized, with at least three of them at Anderson Regional. Reeves’ Tuesday order allows residents of Lauderdale County to leave their homes for food and work, provided their employer is considered an essential business. Reeves made this controversial executive order last week. Residents can leave the house to go on recreational trips, provided they keep their distance from other people at 6 feet and avoid crowds exceeding 10 persons. Reeves has previously refused to issue shelter-in-place orders. However, he indicated last week that he might be able to issue more regional orders for areas at greater risk of community spread. Reeves suggested that counties with lower community spread risk may not require total lockdown. Reeves said that, just like in New York and Texas things are different, the same applies in Pearl River County or Tishomingo County in a podcast interview on Monday. When you consider the fact that there has not been one case reported in Tishomingo at this point, it’s easy to see why. It’s unlikely that there will be significant community spreading when we haven’t seen any cases.” Reeves was not the only governor to issue more severe shelter-in-place orders in 32 states. Reeves cited criticisms he received from national media outlets as well as some Democratic local elected officials in Mississippi. He said that many people have used politics to justify his leadership during the crisis. Reeves stated that Mississippi Today knows more about how to run Mississippi than any national media outlet or other figure. “There will be plenty of time for people to reflect back on the decisions made by Gov. (Andrew Cuomo, New York) Was this the right decision? Is Gov. Was Gov. Reeves’ decision in Mississippi right?