[WATCH] Mississippi Makes it A Felony to Break COVID19 Isolation Protocols

The Mississippi State Department of Health on Friday issued a new order saying anyone infected with COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days or face possible misdemeanor or felony charges. Everyone living in Mississippi, vaccinated or not, “must immediately home-isolate on first knowledge of infection,” the new health department order reads.

The isolation should last 10 days from the first symptoms of illness, or for those who are asymptomatic, 10 days from the day of a positive test. All kindergarten through 12th-grade schools also are ordered to exclude students and staff with COVID from the school setting during the 10-day isolation period.

The Mississippi State flags flies April 17, 2001 in Pascagoula, MS. Voters will decide whether to replace the state’s old flag, which sports the Confederate battle cross, with a new flag that would have 20 white stars on a blue square. (Photo by Bill Colgin/Getty Images)Breaking any health department order carries a minimum of a misdemeanor charge with penalties of a $500 fine, six months in prison, or both. But the coronavirus is a life-threatening disease, which could mean a harsher felony charge. If a life-threatening disease is involved, “failure or refusal to obey the lawful order of a health officer is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to five years or both.”

Mississippi State law says the health department has the authority “to direct and control sanitary and quarantine measures for dealing with all diseases within the state possible to suppress same and prevent their spread.”

Governor Tate Reeves’ ongoing coronavirus executive order is set to expire September 20th if not extended. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs is also “authorized and empowered to issue such orders as necessary to carry out, implement, and enforce any quarantine or isolation orders to contain and restrict the transmission of COVID-19″ according to the Governor.

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