Mississippi Says COVID-19 Positive Residents Must Self-Isolate for 10 Days or Face Fines and Jail

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, WJTV 12 News

Residents in Mississippi who test positive for coronavirus must self-isolate for 10 days or face potentially steep fines and jail time, according to a new order from the state department of health.

The mandate comes amid surging cases in Mississippi, as the 7-day average for new infections in the state reached 4,316 on Friday, nearly double the highest point during the second wave in January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

In an “isolation order” issued Friday, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s chief health officer, wrote that “all persons” residing in the state “must immediately home-isolate on first knowledge of infection with COVID-19.” 

Failure to comply could result in a $500 fine for the first violation and up to six months behind bars for the second violation. The order also states that, in cases in which a life-threatening disease is involved in a refusal to obey, violators could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail.

According the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mississippi currently has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country — 45.1% of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, and only 36.8% are fully vaccinated.

As infection rates increase throughout the US because of the highly contagious Delta variant and the continued unwillingness of people to get vaccinated, the Magnolia State has been hit particularly hard due to its low vaccination rates.

As a result, the state’s healthcare system has begun to buckle. According to NBC News, only seven intensive care unit beds were available in the state on Thursday as a result of the latest outbreak, with a line of 96 patients needing one. 

Hospitals currently have more COVID-19 patients than at any other time during the pandemic, state health data shows. Of the 1,660 patients hospitalized, 457 were in the intensive care unit and 324 were on ventilators as of last week.

Because the state has struggled to contain the virus, more than 20,000 students in Mississippi — about 5% of the state’s public school pupils — had to be quarantined after the first week of school. 

Dobbs’ order also states that Mississippi schools must let students and staffers who test positive for COVID-19 isolate away from campuses.

Mississippi's Republican Governor Tate Reeves has steadfastly refused to order a face mask mandate despite the statewide surge.

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Source: Equities News

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