March 25, 2020 1:24 PM
Immediate Release Moss Point Executive Order Voided by Governor
On yesterday, the Governor issued an executive order that I feel is not in the best interest of Mississippians as it will not decrease the spread of COVID-19. This means the GOVERNOR HAS PASSED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER 1463, WHICH IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR THE ENTIRE STATE. ALL PREVIOUS ORDERS ISSUED BY THE CITY ARE NO LONGER EFFECTIVE. The restrictive measures that I implemented, along with the governing body of the City of Moss Point, as given the authority by the Miss Code Ann § 21-19-3 and Miss Code Ann § 33-15-17, are null and void due to the superseding powers of the Governor. Some of those actions include, but are not limited, to reopening of dine-in restaurant facilities with a ten-person max per area, reopening of daycares, and churches with a recommendation but not a mandate to follow CDC and MDHS guidelines. This action is preemption at its best and willful negligence of the people's safety, welfare, and wellbeing at its worst.
It is very disappointing when our country is faced with a global pandemic, Yet, those that have the power from the bottom-up (municipal leaders) are dismissed, disregarded, and ignored. However, those from the top down (Governor) are not willing to make the tough decisions needed to stop the spread of this disease. Furthermore, it is disheartening when those same leaders are not yielding to the warranted concerns and advice of our medical professionals.
The population of Jackson County, Mississippi, is approximately 142,152 people serving four municipalities Moss Point, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, and Gautier. It is also home to three of the state's largest employers Ingalls Shipbuilding, Chevron Refinery, and Signing River Health System. All provide essential services to citizens inside and outside the county and state boundaries. There is a significant transit workforce throughout the entire coastal region including, but not limited to Hancock and Harrison County and in close proximity to Louisiana's Jefferson, Orleans (coterminous with the city of New Orleans), Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James Parishes and Alabama's Mobile County. We have an awesome healthcare system (Singing River Health System) equipped with two full-service hospitals with 24 ICU beds per facility totaling 48 beds in the county. According to msdh.ms.gov the three coastal counties have a total of 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases and to date two deaths with four positive tests yesterday in Jackson County. According to our United States Surgeon General, this will be the worst week that our nation will see of this disease, yet the State of Mississippi sends people back to work and allowing business as usual.
According to the research (americashealthranking.org) Mississippi ranks last (#49) as the least healthy state in the country, followed by our bordering states Louisiana #50, Alabama #48, Arkansas #46, and Tennessee #42. This scholarly research is based on disease states such as obesity, chronic heart failure, frequent mental/physical distress, and poverty are indicators of the high rate of preexisting conditions that our nation is faced with and yet we subject one of the country's most vulnerable population to exposure. The reason that the CDC has such extreme recommendation is because the vital research done in our nation shows that 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease and 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have two or more chronic diseases which includes Heart Disease, Cancer, Chronic Lung Disease, Stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, Diabetes, Chronic Kidney Disease, and others.
We must accept the facts one of which Patient 31 of South Korea, who was positive for COVID-19 and went to church and the virus spread amongst 100s of individuals. We must yield to the children who have been in childcare facilities that have tested positive and interacted with several other children-who go home to their parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. and spread the virus. So, what is the Governor's rational for this mild Executive Order that promotes the opposite of the recommendations of both the CDC and Mississippi Department of health? When you ask my rational for why I chose to close daycares, dine-in facilities, churches, salons, spas, barbershops, and other non-essential businesses, my response is easy it was 100% for the protection of my team and citizens. As a result of the lack of action by the state, we now have several employees facing symptoms, one testing positive and hospitalized. Additionally, my order was based on the protection and advice of the medical professionals and the vulnerable population I serve. The research on COVID-19 initially reported the spread of the disease was through droplets such as spit, saliva, snot, etc. According to the University of California Los Angeles, 2020, "The study suggests that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. Scientists discovered the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel." This above research is why I think that this executive order is inconsistent with the beliefs of many mayors, citizens, and medical professions. Many have openly expressed their disagreement with this order and the fact it omits the suggestions and mandates of municipalities governing authority. If the Governor wanted uniformity, he should have exercised his superseding powers two weeks ago before the municipalities drafted, administered, and called elected special meetings to adopt and enforce our orders. I am praying for the relief of all impacted by this disease as we continue to navigate our way through this tough time.