RALEIGH, MS – As coronavirus begins to spread throughout the Pine Belt area, five cases were confirmed at the Mississippi Care Center in Raleigh on Tuesday. Following this announcement, an emergency meeting of the Smith County Board of Supervisors was called at the courthouse in Raleigh with county department heads, mayors, and chiefs of police from the county’s three major municipalities in attendance.
Smith County EMA Director Heather Easterling updated the board on the status of the situation at the nursing home. She informed the board that this is a serious situation and is not to be taken lightly. The nursing home had already established many precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, but Mrs. Easterling advised that the Board needed to take further action. Following this advice, the Board of Supervisors, in conjunction with the mayors of Mize, Raleigh, and Taylorsville, passed a emergency order with several new restrictions. These include:
These restrictions, while inconvenient, are absolutely necessary for the protection of life within Smith County. These regulations will take effect immediately and continue until 30 days from the date of passage. You can read the full emergency order below.
JACKSON, MS - On Monday, April 6, crews with the Mississippi Department of Transportation will begin a bridge rehabilitation project on State Route 481 over Caney Creek in Smith County. The location of the bridge is on State Route 481 between Smith County Road 558 and the Scott County line. The project will include: the replacement of the bridge deck, joint repairs, bank reshaping, rail cleaning, and more.
No offical detour route will be provided, but message boards will be in place to warn drivers of the road closure. Passenger cars could utilize Smith County Road 558 and 558-B to access Scott County and commercial traffic could utilize State Route 35. Work is expected to wrap up spring of 2020.
RALEIGH, MS - As state health officials announce Mississippi's first death from the coronavirus, the number of active cases climbs to 80 as Governor Tate Reeves announces sweeping restrictions to public schools.
Effective immediately, all Smith County Schools will be closed tentatively until April 17th, 2020. Kindergarten registration is postponed until further notice, and all events except graduation have been cancelled for the remainder of the school year. The district, realizing its role as more than just a school, will be offering to-go lunches as each of its campuses beginning March 24th-27th. The Central Office will be open on a limited schedule during this time.
Echoing other counties, the Smith County Board of Supervisors declared that a local state of emergency exists in Smith County due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will free up administrative restrictions and ensure that Smith County's agencies can get the assistance and resources they need to combat the Coronavirus as soon as possible. Along with the State of Emergency, the Supervisors also announced new restrictions on county offices, which are as follows.
In Taylorsville, Mayor Kellie Phipps announced today that a local state of emergency exists and placed restrictions on visitors to City Hall to help mitigate the threat of COVID-19 to city employees. Citizens can still make payments on their water bills or speak to a city hall employee by utilizing the drive-through window during normal business hours from 8AM-5PM. The mayor also stated that Dixie Youth activities at the Taylorsville Sportsplex have been postponed until further notice aswell. She reminds all citizens of Taylorsville to be vigilant, and practice good hygiene as we all tackle the coronavirus threat together.
EMA Director Heather Easterling would like to remind Smith County residents that there are no shortage of rumors going around regarding the coronavirus. The Smith County Emergency Management Agency wants to point out that these rumors are hindering the jobs of the ones trying to help you. We are having to stop what we doing to call and verify all these rumors. Please continue to help us prevent the spread of this virus by social distancing, limiting gatherings to 10 people and washing your hands!
If you need information, please contact the Smith County Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Department of Health, or visit our coronavirus information page to verify this information before you post false rumors!
Together, and by sharing only the facts, we will defeat the coronavirus!
RALEIGH, MS - Officials on Thursday confirmed Smith County's first case of COVID-19. At this time, we ask that the public DO NOT PANIC. We are in close contact with the CDC, the Mississippi Department of Health and MEMA monitoring the situation.
In the meantime, we ask that you continue to take these simple preventative measures to minimize your risk of infection.
Yesterday, Raleigh Mayor Bobby Boykin announced on Facebook that "effective immediately, the Town of Raleigh city hall will be closed until further notice. As the situation with the coronavirus outbreak changes by the moment, it is most important, that we protect our town employees and the residents of our community. Any utility payments may be made by placing them in the drop box however, we will not be cutting off any services due to late payments. I strongly encourage all of our residents to stay home. We must work together to protect each other during this time. As your Mayor, I will be available to respond to any need that our residents might have related to town services or personal. Rather than calling the city hall, I ask that you contact me at my personal number 601-323-1174. It’s important that we continue to be calm and smart at the same time."
We will get through this pandemic, just bare with us at this time as we work through this.
If we can assistance you, please call Smith County EMA or Smith County Sheriff Dept.
JACKSON, MS - Today, weather officials from the National Weather Service in Jackson confirmed that a EF-2 tornado tore through Bienville National Forest on February 5th, around 3:20PM. Weather officials originally announced this tornado as a EF-U (unknown) as the damage path was inaccessible to vehicles and the weather was not sufficient to support a drone flight. You can read the full finding and summary below.
February 5th, 2020 Smith County/Shongelo Tornado
Estimated Maximum Wind: 115 mph
Damage Path Length: 2.65 miles
Maximum Path Width: 1/4 mile
Approximate Start Point/Time: 4 miles NNW Raleigh - 3:20 PM
Approximate End Point/Time: 6 miles N Raleigh - 3:24 PM
The tornado starting point was confirmed by drone footage just west of Bienville National Forest Road 527. It moved northeast, snapping and uprooting multiple trees in a convergent pattern as it crossed this road. Tree damage ramped up considerably just east of this location with more considerable tree fall as the tornado crossed Bienville National Forest Road 527-D, including a high percentage of snapped softwood trees and a few snapped hardwoods. In a previously-cleared forest area to the north of this road, nearly all of the dead trees that had remained standing were snapped within and along the tornado path. The road was blocked by numerous downed trees. Footage from a drone showed a well-defined vortex pattern in the fallen trees in this vicinity. The tornado weakened as it crossed MS Highway 35 north of Shongelo Lake and Smith County Road 120, where just a few trees were uprooted. It uprooted a few more trees along Bienville National Forest Road 533, including one that blocked the roadway, before lifting.
RALEIGH, MS - The Smith County Board of Supervisors, Smith County School Board, Smith County Sheriff’s Office, and Smith County EMA continues to monitor the developing situation involving the 19-CoViD (Coronavirus) outbreak. We are staying in close contact with all State Officials, and our main concerns are protecting the health and safety of our citizens. The health and safety of Smith County citizens is our top priority and will continue to be our top priority till we get clearance from our State Officials to stand down.
This week, we had several important developments in regards to the virus and we want to summarize those here. Yesterday, county officials and officials from our communities joined a conference call with MEMA to discuss the outbreak. We would like to say thanks to the Smith County School District, Smith County Sheriff Department, Town of Raleigh, Town of Taylorsville, Town of Polkville, Town of Mize, Raleigh PD, Taylorsville PD, MS Care Center, Smith County Chancery Clerk Cindy Austin, Smith County Board Clerk Rita McDonald, Board Attorney Wendall James, Billy Whittington from Homewood VFD, Jimmy Ray Burns from Raleigh VFD/EMA, Annette Thornton from Smith County EMA, Jimmy Smith from Pineville VFD, Stella McNeer from Raleigh VFD/AMR and Rosemary Sullivan from Mize VFD for taking part in the conference call.
On Monday, Raleigh Mayor Bobby Boykin announced that the town hall meeting scheduled for March 24th with Atmos Entergy has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. All summer baseball programs have been put on delay until May 1st, and will be reconsidered at that time. No team practices or games will be permitted to be held on the town ballparks at this time.
The Smith County School District also announced that all MSHSAA interscholastic sports and fine arts activities had been cancelled through March 29th, tentatively.
On Tuesday, closures continued as Mayor Larry Joe Hancock of Mize announced that in furtherance of the State of Emergency declared by Governor Tate Reeves on March 14, 2020, as an in-part effort to reduce the risk of COVID -19 spread, the Town of Mize is taking the following action until further notice:
EMA Director Heather Easterling announced three new updates on Tuesday, the first being that MEMA is gathering information on the economic loss to small businesses throughout the state as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In the event your small business suffer economic hardship as a result of the response efforts of the COVID-19 event, please contact the Smith County EMA office at 601-782-9151 and we will get you the paperwork to submit to the state. Please contact Todd DeMuth at email@example.com with any questions you may have about this program. PAPERWORK MUST BE SUBMITTED BY APRIL 1, 2020.
The second was that EMA has been in contact with leaders in the funeral industry and they have put together some guidelines, which are listed below to protect their employees and the families they service. The CDC and National Funeral Directors Association put forth guidelines to help slow the spread of and help limit exposure to COVID-19 and we feel it a prudent course of action to follow their recommendations. At this time these are recommendations only and are not mandatory. These recommendations are subject to change as new information and CDC guidelines become available. In the event local, state or federal mandates are issued we will abide by those mandates.
For large events and mass gatherings, which includes visitations and funeral services, the CDC and NFDA have recommended the following:
The CDC has also recommended that all people practice social distancing, self-quarantine measures and good hand washing hygiene. To help accomplish these measures, we are making the following recommendations to the families we serve.
The third and final update on Tuesday was that in an effort to help protect our EMS crews, firefighters, first responders, and LEO, we want you to know that if you have to call 911 for any medical reason, you will be asked a series of questions, and we ask that you please let our 911 dispatchers and AMR dispatchers know if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms. At this time to protect our first responders and limit patient contact with flu-like symptoms, we will be limiting our first responders response to calls only.
The only calls that volunteer fire departments need to respond to are listed below:
There will be no response at all unless it is requested by AMR Ambulance for the symptoms listed below:
We appreciate the patience and trust that every citizen in Smith County has placed in us during this outbreak. It takes us all working together to make Smith County a safe place for all our citizens.
As always, to get up to date information on the COVID-19 outbreak, you can visit the Smith County COVID-19 Information Page at: https://www.visitsmithcountyms.org/coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.html
Raleigh, Mississippi - As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the United States, officials are continuing to monitor the virus at all levels of government. As of writing, there are NO cases of COVID-19 in Smith County, and there is only ONE case in the State of Mississippi.
COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. The CDC and Mississippi Department of Health are working to detect, contain and limit the spread of cases in the U.S. and Mississippi should they occur. Cases of COVID-19 continue to be identified in U.S. states, and in some areas, person-to-person contact has been identified. This is a rapidly changing situation that is continually being monitored by the CDC and MSDH as more cases in the U.S. are expected. The risk of infection to the general public in Mississippi remains low, but all Mississippians are advised to take health precautions to prevent the possible transmission of disease.
The Smith County Emergency Management Agency has been monitoring the current health concerns alongside the Smith County Health Department and posting updates as they receive information from the Mississippi State Department of Health and MEMA concerning necessary precautions and anything else that will affect the daily routine of the residents of Smith County.
Smith County has been making plans the last few weeks and making sure our responders are prepared to respond and assist our citizens.
We would like to remind everyone that there are steps you can take to protect yourself
It is important to remember that panic and fear does not replace facts and science. We have set up a web-page where you can get all of the latest information from federal, state, and county officials regarding coronavirus.
The webpage can be found at: