As the state of Mississippi reels from a record number of new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the State Health Officer, Thomas Dobbs, MD, issued an order requiring the isolation of individuals diagnosed with the virus.
In detail: The Mississippi State Department of Health updated their numbers on Friday, revealing that 5,048 new cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in the state, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began.
The department also confirmed 54 new deaths related to COVID-19. While 22 of these deaths occurred between April 29 and August 14, an alarming 32 deaths occurred between August 8 and August 19.
This surge in numbers prompted action from the Mississippi State Health Officer, who issued an order on Friday requiring those with COVID-19 to isolate at home or face a fine, imprisonment, or both.
As noted in his order, failing or refusing to obey a lawful order from the health officer is a misdemeanor punishable by fine up to $500, imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both. When a life-threatening disease, such as COVID-19, is involved, the fine can go up to $5,000 and the period of incarceration can be up to 5 years.
The order specifies that individuals are required to remain in their homes for 10 days from the onset of illness, or in the case of asymptomatic individuals, for 10 days from the date of a positive test. While at home, the order details that visitors should not be allowed, and individuals should stay away from other household members and use a separate bathroom, if possible.
The big picture: Of the 50 states in America, Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of fully vaccinated individuals, with only 36% of its residents fully vaccinated, compared to 51% of the total U.S. population.
“COVID-19 in Mississippi is a raging wildfire, but not everyone is helping throw water on the flames in their own backyard,” said Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
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