For the past 122 days Coahoma County has averaged about two cases of COVID-19 a day, but it suddenly spiked this past weekend and local and state health authorities are searching through data on what led to the sudden increase.
As of Friday there were 276 cases of COVID-19 cases over the past 118 days, but from July 17 to July 21 Coahoma County saw the case count spike to 443, an increase of 167 cases in five days.
Fortunately, unlike other counties the size of Coahoma County, there has not been an increase in deaths or outbreak of infections in nursing homes.
State and local health officials could not give a definite answer for the spike.
“Test results continuously come in, but are not necessarily indicative of the day before testing,” said Liz Sharlot, spokesman for the Mississippi State Health Department. “It could be three days before or several batches from a few days before.”
The onset of school apparently has parents getting children tested. A high case count could prompt cancelling fall sports and classes.
The spike has also become a hot political issue on the national level, a battleground for local officials wanting to require everyone to wear masks, and businesses hesitant to reopen and restart the economy.
The Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center, provided drive-through testing for more than 200 individuals for a five-hour time period Tuesday.
Bridgette Rockette, AEH director of nursing, oversaw the testing and said the line of cars spanned as long as two miles.
“Most of the cases that are coming through the drive-through are the minor cases that have some of the minor symptoms, which are the chills,” said Rockette. “We’ve had a lot of people complain of sore throat. We’ve had people that have tested positive for strep throat, but also test positive for the coronavirus.”
Those who had insurance were able to take the test at no additional cost.
AEH has their nurses do the testing and paperwork and the cultures are sent to Quest Diagnostics for lab results. Rockette said it can take 7 to 14 days before the results come back.
“They’re just backed up because they’ve just had such an increase in testing across the state,” said Rockette. “Quest serves a lot of areas.”
Rockette said it is possible some individuals who test positive may no longer have COVID-19 by the time the results come back. However, she urged everyone to remain quarantined after taking the test and not wait for the results.
“There’s just such a high demand,” Rockette said. “If you have the symptoms, you need to be quarantined and stay home. The CDC has recommended 10 days.”
Rockette said since there was a high turnout for testing Tuesday that the number of cases in Coahoma County decrease in the near future.
AEH will provide testing in Robinsonville on Friday, July 31 and the state will watch to see if Tunica’s case count mirrors Coahoma County.
As of this point, 1.9-percent of the county’s 22,628 residents have come down with the disease and 98.42-percent have gotten well. The disease has been fatal to 0.031-percent of the community.