COVID-19 Tips, Resources and Relief Efforts Mississippi Secretary Of State Michael Watson

COVID-19 Tips, Resources and Relief Efforts
Mississippi Secretary Of State
Michael Watson

Thursday, April 23, 2020


COVID-19 Cases in Mississippi

As of Thursday, April 23, 2020, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 5,153 COVID-19 cases and 201 deaths. According to state data and the Singing River Hospital System, people between ages 40-59 are the largest group to have tested positive for COVID-19, with 17 deaths across the state in that age group. The most deaths are occurring in the 60-79 age bracket with 106 deaths. That translates to the virus being 520% more deadly to those over 60. 

State data also shows that about 1/3 of the individuals that test positive for COVID-19 require hospitalization, and half of those individuals require a ventilator to help them breathe. Statewide, the most common underlying conditions in deaths are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and obesity.

State health officials emphasize that while the total number of cases in our state has subsided, it is still crucial for Mississippians in every age group to protect yourself and others around you by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions. Stay home as much as possible, wash your hands frequently and stay in good overall health by eating right and staying active. When we all do our part, our state emerges from this crisis healthier and more united than ever before.

Click here to view COVID-19 cases, testing locations and safety tips.


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), Mississippians who can not work as a “direct result” of the pandemic that occurred on February 2, 2020 and ongoing, are entitled to apply and may be eligible to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Individuals can apply online or call 1-833-919-0334 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, persons employed by a church or religious entity, employees of non-profit organizations, gig economy workers, those who do not have sufficient wages in covered employment during the last 18 months to establish a claim under regular unemployment compensation, and those who became unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of the pandemic, may be eligible for PUA.

Click here to read additional PUA qualifications.


Paycheck Protection Program/EIDL

As you probably know, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was included in the CARES Act passed by Congress last month. The first round recently ran out of money, but a second round of funding was included in legislation passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this week. The bill is expected to clear the House of Representatives today, Thursday, April 23, before heading to the President’s desk. We strongly encourage our small business owners to reach out to their accountants and/or local participating banks to get the applications submitted as soon as possible so they will be in the system when the funding is released.

This legislation also included a second round of funding for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. For small businesses wishing to secure a loan through this program, we encourage you to reach out to the SBA for guidance and assistance. From talking with numerous small business owners who’ve already received assistance, it is our understanding the process is rather simple and straight forward, so please act as quickly as possible to take advantage of these programs created to help small businesses weather this unprecedented pandemic.

Click here to learn more about SBA relief options.


Scam Alert: Investors

Our office urges Mississippi investors to beware of con artists seeking to capitalize on fear and uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. Never make an investment decision without understanding what you are investing in, who you are doing business with, where your money is going, how it will be used, and how you can get it back.

To help investors identify common telltale signs of possible investment fraud, we’ve provided three questions to ask before making a new investment.

  1. Is the investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk? All investments carry risk that you may potentially lose some or all of your money. Anyone who says their investment offer has no risk is lying. No one can guarantee an investment return.
  2. Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment? If the offer is legitimate, it will be there later. If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and puts you on the spot, don’t be afraid to walk away.
  3. Is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, properly licensed or registered? For the same reasons you wouldn’t go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, you should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products.

Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any concerns about the investment professional you are working with or the product being offered, please contact our Securities division at (601) 359-1334.


Nonprofit Renewal Registration Deadline

As part of ongoing relief efforts, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the filing date for nonprofits due by May 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. However, the Secretary of State’s Office encourages all nonprofits to still file renewal registrations as soon as possible. For more information, please contact our Charities division at (601) 359-1599, or send an email to

Click here to file a nonprofit renewal registration.


COVID-19 Guide for Nonprofits

The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy has worked diligently over the last month and a half to ensure that nonprofits around the state are supported in meaningful ways as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis. An essential component of this work is ensuring they have access to high-quality, timely information and resources. While there are a significant number of resources available, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the right opportunity. The Alliance’s COVID-19 Resource Guide has been constructed to aid organizations in identifying the right resources for them.

Click here to view the COVID-19 Resource Guide.

Executive Orders

Executive Order 1474 Executive Order 1474 delays the expiration of driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, intermediate licenses, firearm permits and security guard permits.
Executive Order 1473 Executive Order 1473 extends the statewide shelter-in-place order by 7 days.
Executive Order 1471 Executive Order 1471 creates additional protections from civil liability for healthcare workers and facilities assisting outside their normal operations in the response to COVID-19.
Executive Order 1470 Executive Order 1470 defines elective surgeries and restricts all non-essential elective surgeries and medical and surgical procedures.

Click here to view all Executive Orders.

Emergency Contact Information

Office of the Governor of Mississippi
Tate Reeves
(601) 359-3150
Mississippi State Department of Health (877) 978-6453

Mississippi Emergency
Management Agency
(601) 933-6362
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (800) 232-4636
Mississippi Department of Employment Security (601) 855-3133

1-888-844-3577 (toll-free)

1-888-772-0061 (toll-free)

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