TUPELO • As the novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout Northeast Mississippi, the Lee County Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously passed a resolution requesting that all county residents comply with all COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The resolution does not issue any mandates but only urges county residents to not gather in groups of 10 people, to wash hands regularly, to maintain social distancing and to only travel for essential reasons.
“I think every area ought to do their own requests and everything. It’s hard to demand people do something,” District 4 Supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy said. “They’ll do it better by request and everything, and what the board did is we requested people follow the CDC guidelines.”
Ivy also asked for residents to pray for the county and its respond to the virus.
The resolution also asks for businesses and industries to take appropriate measures to preserve the health of employees and customers and food service industries are encouraged to use curbside pickup or drive-thru means.
Gary Carnathan, the attorney to the board of supervisors, told the Daily Journal that the county has the ability to issue an order requiring people to stay at home unless traveling for essential reasons, but that the county has no plans to issue such an order at this time.
Bill Benson, the county administrator told the Daily Journal that the resolution partly came out of a telephone conference with city leaders from different municipalities in Lee County. The conference was something that Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton wanted to conduct.
“Basically, it was the mayor telling us 'Here’s what we’ve done' and encouraging action from us,” Benson said of the phone conference. “And this is the action.”
Shelton told the Daily Journal that he is proud of the county for taking proactive action and was glad to work with other local leaders on safety measures in response to the virus.
The county resolution comes one day after Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton ordered all citizens in the county’s largest city to stay at home unless traveling for essential purposes and mandated all non-essential businesses close for at least seven days.
According to the latest data from the Mississippi State Department of Health, there are 249 total presumptive cases of the virus in the state with approximately 40 presumptive cases in Northeast Mississippi and eight presumptive cases in Lee County.
Presumptive cases have been identified through testing, but the CDC must still confirm the test.
Other counties and municipalities in Northeast Mississippi have taken measures to slow the spread of the virus including Houston, Oxford, Lafayette County and Pontotoc.