Lt. Gov. Hosemann, Speaker Gunn Test Positive for COVID-19; Governor Hints at ‘Total Lockdowns’

Multiple state legislators are now being tested for possible COVID-19 infection. Photo by Nick Judin

Multiple state legislators are now being tested for possible COVID-19 infection. Photo by Nick Judin

UPDATE: The Mississippi State Department of Health announced 957 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 44 deaths today, 34 of which are from the last three days. The heavy spike in deaths is primarily the result of coronavirus creeping back in to the state's long-term care facilities, in which there are currently 118 outbreaks. Due to the state's already overburdened hospital system, MSDH has ordered hospitals in Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Forrest, Jones and Washington County to postpone all elective surgeries. DeSoto, Grenada and Harrison County are all areas of heightened concern, and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs indicated they could face additional restrictions in the near future.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn have both tested positive for COVID-19, as have a number of other state legislators. Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, announced his own test results via his official Facebook page on Sunday, while Leah Rupp Smith, Hosemann’s deputy chief of staff, announced Hosemann’s results to members of the press.

While he has tested positive for the virus, Gunn said he feels “very fortunate” not to be experiencing “very many symptoms.” The speaker had been in close proximity to an infected state representative, he said. Now multiple state legislators are being tested for the virus.

Gov. Tate Reeves also self-isolated over the weekend before announcing negative test results for himself and his family. “What I want you to do today is please consider doing your part. Please consider wearing your mask when you’re in public,” Reeves said during a remote briefing on Sunday.

The July 4th weekend saw fewer reported coronavirus cases than in previous weeks, though data for today remains unavailable so far due to “data entry mistakes” reported via the Mississippi State Department of Health’s official Twitter. Yesterday, MSDH reported 357 new cases as well as three deaths, while Sunday’s report showed 226 additional cases with five deaths.

MSDH reported 102 long-term-care facility outbreaks as of yesterday—the highest reported number since the June 5 report of 107. The rising number of LTC outbreaks comes as the governor ordered a hold on loosening safety regulations further to facilitate Mississippi’s re-opening.

Hospitalization data remain incomplete for July 4-7, but the most up-to-date MSDH data showed 825 COVID-19 patients as of Sunday. There were 165 people in intensive care units and 98 patients on ventilators.

State reporter Nick Judin contributed to this report. Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state intern Julian Mills at [email protected].


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