COVID-19 has spared Coahoma County with no deaths reported in the community since mid-December.
As of Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health said there have been 2,410 cases of COVID-19 reported in the county and 54 deaths due to the disease since the first case was reported locally on March 18. MSDH said no deaths had been reported in Coahoma County based on data taken from official death certificates since Dec. 14, 2020.
That averages out to 10.65 percent of the county’s population who have tested positive and a fatality rate of 0.23 percent among the county’s 22,628 residents.
Coahoma County reported a high of 188 new cases on July 25 but saw that number decline to 13 people testing positive the week of Oct. 3. Positive tests climbed to their second highest number on Dec. 12 with 114 new cases.
While there were no deaths due to coronavirus reported in the county the community is seeing a rise in the number of cases reported and that ultimately leads to a higher fatality count.
Coahoma County reported its first COVID-19 fatality on April 4 with the death of Bishop T.T. Scott, 88, leader of St. James Temple of God in Christ.
Frantic testing in the community just before school started saw the number of cases in the community and Mississippi skyrocket. That spike has been linked to the end of state and federal assistance that ran out in late July. Those who test positive for the disease can get two weeks – and sometimes longer – of unemployment assistance if they test positive for COVID-19.
Communities can also lobby state health officials for more resources to fight the disease as cases go up and states can be paid by the federal government based on the numbers of cases reported.
Statewide there have been 255,125 cases reported as of Tuesday and 5,547 deaths. That means 8.87 percent of the Mississippians have tested positive for COVID-19 and .19 percent of the state’s 2.876 million residents have died.
That averages 3111.2 cases over Mississippi’s 82 counties, with Coahoma County well below that average.
Across the nation the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 23,635,919 people or 7.20 percent of the nation’s 328.2 million people have contracted the disease and 394,495 or 1.67 percent of those infected have died.
Epidemiologists with the Center for Disease Control have estimated herd immunity – the number need to become infected, survive the disease and become immune to spreading it – would need to hit one-third to curb COVID-19. That means 7,542 people in Coahoma County would have to either contract the disease or be successfully vaccinated.
The CDC also says many people – especially those under the age of 19 – often get the disease and do not exhibit symptoms. Mississippi has had no child fatalities under the age of 1-year-old and only two COVID deaths ages 1- to 10-years-old.
The disease has a greater impact on the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.
MSDH said Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine began being dispensed in Coahoma County last week and serum was distributed to hospitals and health facilities for those involved in COVID-19 patient care. Long-term care facility residents and staff were next in line as were first responders such as police, fire and ambulance personnel.
CDC has said additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine are expected over the coming weeks, with expansion of vaccination to all healthcare workers in any setting, essential workers, those with chronic diseases and the elderly next in line.
The City of Clarksdale announced the extension of indoor and outdoor gathering, bar capacity and social distancing requirements in March and many of those requirements are still in place. The Board of Mayor and Commissioners have issued more than an 18 executive orders related to COVID-19. Most in the community are not aware of the requirements other than being asked to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash their hands.
Those who test positive are being quarantined for two weeks and family members and co-workers can also be quarantined.
Several convenience stores and restaurants in the area have closed after staff became infected. Major grocery stores, retail outlets and fast food restaurants remain open and are hiring replacement workers to fill in for those who test positive.
The pandemic began 309 days ago and at this point 97.8-percent of Coahoma County residents who have caught coronavirus have gotten well. As of Monday MSDH says 207,769 of the state’s confirmed cases have gotten well.
The Mississippi State Department of Health has ramped up testing procedures across the state and most local healthcare providers offer the test for free and are reimbursed by the state.
The MSDH website listed the following locations offering free COVID-19 testing:
Clarksdale: Fast Pace Health at 662-966-1012.
Clarksdale: Aaron E. Henry CHC at 662-624-4292.
Tunica: Aaron E. Henry CHC at 662-363-3656.
Greenville: Delta Regional Medical Center at 662-725-6000.
Those wanting to be tested must call in advance to prepare the clinic to administer a test.