Gov. Reeves wants to test all residents and staff in long-term care facilities statewide
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(L-R) Governor Tate Reeves and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs
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As the number of deaths due to the coronavirus continue to rise in Mississippi’s long term care facilities, the governor says they’re planning to test all residents and staff statewide in order to slow the spread. MPB’s Ashley Norwood reports.

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More than 1,200 residents of long-term care facilities in Mississippi have tested positive for the coronavirus. Public health officials say the strategy behind testing and contact tracing is to control the virus from further spreading across communities. At the governor’s press conference Monday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says Mississippi has a team of about 200 public health workers who identify each new positive case.

“And then we find out who around them could be considered at-risk contacts. And then we contact those individuals also and put them on what we call quarantine orders while we’re waiting to see if they become ill. And people on quarantine orders will be 14 days on quarantine order,” said Dobbs.

According to the Mississippi health department, 44% of coronavirus deaths in the state are in long-term care facilities. On Monday, the White House strongly recommended governors test all residents and staff at those facilities in the next two weeks. Republican Governor Tate Reeves says testing and contact tracing is especially important in long-term care facilities.

“We’re going to work towards with the new capacity that we have from a testing standpoint to reach out and go attempt to test in every long-term care facility in our state whether they have an outbreak or not,” said Reeves.

Lauderdale County has the state’s largest outbreak in long-term care facilities with 120 total coronavirus cases and 26 deaths as of yesterday. Reeves says the state has no timeline for testing all residents and staff at such facilities statewide, but says they are working on a plan.

Ashley Norwood, MPB News.