On Friday, the Mississippi State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, issued an "isolation order" for residents diagnosed with COVID-19 who refuse to self-isolate.
"All persons residing in Mississippi must immediately home-isolate on first knowledge of infection with COVID-19," states the order. Specifically, COVID-19 patients who are not hospitalized are required to stay home or at another "appropriate residential location" for a minimum of 10 days, and have no contact with other people during that time.
Failure to comply could result in fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail.
Another provision allows for sentences of up to six months in jail and/or up to $500 in fines for simply refusing to obey a public health officer in Mississippi.
According to NBC News, the isolation order also has a provision for students and staff members in Mississippi's schools to be able to isolate away from the schools' physical locations.
The order is considered by Dobbs and many others to be necessary, since the state of Mississippi has seen soaring rates of new infections and hospitalizations during this new fourth wave of COVID-19.
Currently, spare ICU capacity in Mississippi is almost non-existent, with only seven beds still available in the entire state as of Thursday.