Mid-South states make coronavirus red zone list

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What is the coronavirus red zone?

According to the Center for Public Integrity, this recent document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force classifies a red zone in two different ways.

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First, by COVID-19 cases.

Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas have all seen more than 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.

The second classification deals with the positivity rate.

Mississippi is the only Mid-South state in the red zone for both COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate.

According to the document, states in the red zone are highly encouraged to be stricter with their safety measures, including closing bars and gyms, limiting social gatherings and requiring face coverings.

This week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a statewide mask mandate.

"The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are numbers that speak for themselves and indicate that we need to do more," said Hutchinson.

Related: Report: Unpublished White House document puts 18 states in the coronavirus ‘hot zone’

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves did the same thing for 13 counties including Desoto and Quitman because they were considered hot spots.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee still has not put a mask mandate in place but has left the decision up to local governments.

"It's a simple personal decision that just might save an elderly person's life in this state," said Lee.

In Shelby County, the health department has a mask mandate in place. It also ordered bars to close.

Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas have also been put on various travel advisory lists. Travelers from the Mid-South have to quarantine if they go to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

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