The governor of Mississippi took a step back with continuing to slowly reopen the state after health officials said there was the largest increase of coronavirus diagnosis and deaths.
Gov. Tate Reeves was to proceed with his plan to get people back to work, but announced the change of plans on Friday as 397 new coronavirus cases were confirmed and 20 more people died.
"Things can change quickly. We have to stay flexible. Today, I was prepared to announce further reopenings. That was the plan and I was excited to get more of our people back to work," Reeves said. "This was a large enough change to make me take a step back… and I have come to the conclusion that I must hold on for now.”
Reeves launched his "safer-at-home" order on Monday that allows retail businesses to reopen for two weeks with mandated health guidelines like social distancing, reducing capacity by 50% and providing hand sanitzer for customers.
Businesses including gyms, movie theaters and salons remained closed as elective medical and dental procedures resumed.
The state's health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said the increase of coronavirus cases could have happened for "several" reasons.
Dobbs also reported that 554 COVID-19 patients are in hospital beds.
"The increase was a large enough change to make me take a step back, reexamine things and must hold on and reconsider at least over the weekend," said Reeves, adding, "Not to recklessly put people in harms way."
As of Friday, Mississippi has had 281 coronavirus deaths and 7,212 confirmed cases, according to the state's department of health.
Of the confirmed cases 3,742 are African American, 2,364 are white, 764 are classified as other while 342 are under investigation. Of the deaths, 164 are African American, 115 are white and two are other.
What to know about Coronavirus:
- How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: Coronavirus map