The reported rise in the number of new positive COVID-19 cases per day has resulted in tighter restrictions being imposed by the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors effective November 16.
On Monday, after hearing statements from Sunflower County Emergency Management Director Denny Evans that the per day new case average has jumped from seven or eight in mid October to around 12 per day as of November 13, the county lawmakers voted unanimously to require a face covering before entering all public buildings.
Evans said later on Monday, after receiving new information from the health department that is earlier pronouncement may have been slightly higher, because new data shows there may only be around ten new cases per day. However, that is still a significant jump.
District 1 Supervisor Glenn Donald stated that he was under the impression that the county was already under a mask mandate that originated when Governor Tate Reeves issued a statewide order.
However, Attorney Johnny McWilliams clarified that the leaders had only agreed to mimic the governor's earlier restriction, which is no longer in affect, but it was not a part of their active emergency proclamation.
McWilliams explained that they do have an effective mask mandate, but it is strictly for county-owned buildings. “You have a strongly-urged proclamation for everybody every where,” he said.
President Riley Rice then asked McWilliams if a countywide mandate could be set and McWilliams reminded them of an earlier discussion at the onset of the pandemic, wherein they discussed the improbability of being able to enforce such a command. Nevertheless, he asserted that a mandate could be ordered under the lawmakers’ emergency powers.
McWilliams reiterated his view on the difficulty of enforcing such an order and presented an alternative suggestion. “The better thing would be if you could encourage it and get people to do it,” he said.
After a brief discussion, Donald made the motion. He said, "Denny says we got 12 new cases a day that's 84 people a week. We need to have it on record that we mandate it, that it’s countywide, masks required.” Donald asserted that the CDC has recommended that wearing masks is the best method for slowing the spread of the disease.