JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi residents can now face jail time or fines if they refuse to self-isolate after receiving a positive COVID-19 test, according to a new emergency state health order.
According to the order issued Friday by Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, those who contract COVID-19 must isolate themselves at home for 10 days once they become aware that they are infected, regardless of their vaccination status.
“A negative test for COVID-19 is not required to end isolation at the end of 10 days, but you must be fever free for at least 24 hours with improvement of other symptoms,” the order reads.
The order stated that refusal to obey could result in a $500 fine, up to six months in jail, or both. However, when a life-threatening disease is involved, the refusal to obey the order could include up to $5,000 in fines, five years of jail time or both, according to the state health order.
Mississippi has recently started to experience its third and largest wave of COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the contagious delta variant.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state saw 5,048 new cases on Thursday, the most since the start of the pandemic.
The spike in cases has resulted in a rise in hospitalizations across the state. Officials were recently forced to open a field hospital in a parking garage of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Health officials say most recent hospitalizations and deaths caused by COVID-19 are among those who remain unvaccinated. Bloomberg reports that Mississippi has among the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
This story was originally published by Jack Helean on Scripps station KSTU in Salt Lake City.