After reporting no new cases Thursday, Coahoma County saw three new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday. There have been 10 new local cases over the past seven days and the county’s third death was reported Tuesday.
The county now has 64 people who have had or who are currently infected with the disease
Coahoma County had a population of 22,628 according to 2018 census estimates. As of today 0.282-percent of the county's population has been diagnosed with the disease with most homes and businesses not having any family member or employee who has become sick.
Coahoma County reported its first coronavirus case on March 18, its first fatality on April 4 and its second fatality April 19.
The county is 45-days into the pandemic and it is apparent most of those 64 now infected have gotten well.
The Center for Disease Control said the typical case of COVID-19 can last up to two weeks, with those suffering severe cases being ill up to three or four weeks.
Coahoma is ranked 39th among Mississippi counties with the disease with Hinds at the top with 496 cases.
Lifting the ban
Overall, Coahoma County numbers appear to be stabilizing and federal officials are also hinting the peak of the disease at the national level may be approaching.
“Reopening our economy does not mean ignoring the virus,” said Senator Roger Wicker, (R-Miss) in a statement Friday. “We can, and must, continue to be smart about the pandemic while getting back to work. I recently met with Governor Tate Reeves, who has been a great partner in managing the response to the crisis. He and other governors have had to balance aggressively fighting the pandemic while getting our economy back on track.
Gov. Tate Reeves lifted certain restrictions for select businesses last week, but left others as non-essential and said they must remain closed for seven more days.
Reeves is expected to once again relax the shutdown this weekend.
He said most retail businesses can reopen with social distancing and other guidelines in place. Reeves also said the state could clamp back down if the virus re-emerges and the infection rate climbs.
Reeves added that he never said people could not go to church and that privilege is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Mayor Chuck Espy said Monday the situation in Clarksdale is serious and told the community to continue to follow shelter-in-place restriction, the curfew, for select businesses to remain closed and to observe a high level of hygiene that included washing hands and social distancing.
The Board of Mayor and Commissioners voted to continue the city’s shutdown until May 11.
“At the national level, President Trump has released a plan advising states to reduce the restrictions in three phases,” said Wicker. “I am eager to see this plan implemented in ways that best suit each state.
Trump plan for states to reopen the economy are:
• Vulnerable individuals – the elderly and those with underlying conditions – should continue to shelter in place.
• Areas with declining numbers and no evidence of a rebound can loosen restrictions.
• States, counties and cities must show core preparedness responsibilities that include ability to treat patients, ability to pinpoint interactions of infected people and resources to test for and then treat people with COVID-19.
Residents have been told by city and county officials to not gather in groups of more than 10 people and to stay at home. The city and county have also imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and ordered select businesses to close or at least alter the way they do business. Most businesses have remained open.
This is a rapidly changing situation that is continually being monitored by the Center for Disease Control and MSDH as more cases in the U.S. are expected. The risk of infection to the general public in Mississippi remains low, but all Mississippians are advised to take health precautions to prevent the possible transmission of disease.
Across the state, Mississippi's coronavirus count rose to 7,212 cases as of Friday. This averages to 87.9 cases per Mississippi 82 counties and MSDH now says 3,413 people have recovered.
MSHD reported a new high of 397 cases in the state Friday, topping Sunday’s previous record of 300 new cases.
There were 20 new fatalities on Friday after posting a low of two fatalities on Monday. Mississippi has 281 deaths related to COVID-19.
Mississippi has a population of 2.987 million people and as of today 0.241-percent of the population has or has had the disease. Mississippi has implemented a massive testing program and an increase in testing has pushed the number of cases higher.
The state has told those who have symptoms, and have been tested, to retest in two weeks as the test indication can be incorrect up to 30 percent of the time.
Mississippi leads the southeast in the number percentage of tests conducted. As of today, 71,548 people (2.39-percent of the population) have been tested. Monitoring the infection rate and quarantining those with the disease has been a key factor for both state and federal leaders as they consider reopening the economy.
Mississippi initially reported 50 cases on March 11 and, like other flu viruses, you can get a mild case of the disease and not know it.
MSDH is also releasing data on who is being affected most by coronavirus.
The state again said 51.9-percent of the cases are African American, 32.8-percent are white, 10.6-percent are listed as other and 4.7-percent are under investigation by MSHD. The fatality ratio shows that 58.4-percent of those who have died were African American and 40.9 percent were white and those percentages have also varied little since numbers started being released.
MSDH numbers also show that 77.1-percent of those identified with coronavirus are not being hospitalized and this is a rising number. Most hospitals are not keeping patients unless the condition is life threatening.
Data from the state also indicates the majority of those dying of COVID-19 had underlying conditions. Cardiovascular disease tops the list at 159 followed by hypertension at 149, diabetes at 121 and obesity at 81. Only five deaths have not had some type of underlying condition contribute to a fatality.
Mississippi seems to be getting more tests than many states. Urban areas of the state -- and nation -- are getting more testing. The more rural areas of the nation -- the Midwest and Mountain States -- are reporting fewer cases of coronavirus. The Northeast -- particularly New York City -- and the eastern seaboard are reporting most of the country's cases.
County by county
The Mississippi State Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center brought in a mobile coronavirus testing unit to Coahoma County on March 27 and tested approximately 25 people for the disease at the Coahoma County Expo Center. The results of those tests do not appear to have radically altered the local case count.
Cases reported as of today in the following Mississippi counties were: Adams (148), Alcorn (10), Amite (29), Attala (109) Benton (12), Bolivar (102), Calhoun (52), Carroll (58), Chickasaw (75), Choctaw (13), Claiborne (23), Clarke (55), Clay (42), Coahoma (64), Copiah (108), Covington (67), Desoto (293), Forrest (219), Franklin (16), George (14), Greene (5), Grenada (32), Hancock (62), Harrison (177), Hinds (496), Holmes (153), Humphreys (24), Itawamba (59), Jackson (267), Jasper (48), Jefferson (20), Jeff Davis (35), Jones (159), Kemper (64), Lafayette (89), Lamar (111), Lauderdale (365), Lawrence (46), Leake (219), Lee (71), Leflore (164), Lincoln (143), Lowndes (58), Madison (251), Marion (75), Marshall (44), Monroe (161), Montgomery (29), Neshoba (205), Newton (87), Noxubee (73), Oktibbeha (51), Panola (39), Pearl River (175), Perry (27), Pike (149), Pontotoc (18), Prentiss (32), Quitman (15), Rankin (194), Scott (339), Sharkey (5), Simpson (47), Smith (76), Stone (22), Sunflower (55), Tallahatchie (11), Tate (42), Tippah (56), Tishomingo (7), Tunica (35), Union (19), Walthall (32), Warren (74), Washington (77), Wayne (23), Webster (19), Wilkinson (69), Winston (44), Yalobusha (20) and Yazoo (139).
County case numbers change as investigations find new information on a case's home county. Cases reported also tend to increase toward Friday as people are tested during the week and results take 1- to 3-days to return.
The state announced its first death due to coronavirus March 20. Fatalities attributed to the disease have been reported in Adams (8), Alcorn (1), Bolivar (7), Calhoun (3), Carroll (1), Chickasaw (8), Choctaw (1), Clarke (3), Clay (2), Coahoma (3), Copiah (1), Desoto (4), Forrest (12), Franklin (1), George (1), Greene (1), Hancock (5), Harrison (6), Hinds (8), Holmes (9), Humphreys (3), Itawamba (3), Jackson (6), Jasper (1), Jeff Davis (1), Jones (2), Kemper (3), Lafayette (3), Lamar (2), Lauderdale (23), Leake (2), Lee (4), Leflore (17), Lincoln (11), Lowndes (2), Madison (8), Marion (7), Marshall (2), Monroe (16), Montgomery (1), Neshoba (4), Oktibbeha (3), Panola (2), Pearl River (20), Perry (1), Pike (7), Pontotoc (2), Prentiss (1), Rankin (5), Smith (4), Sunflower (2), Tallahatchie (1), Tippah (10), Tunica (2), Union (1), Warren (2), Washington (3), Webster (1), Wilkinson (7) and Yazoo (1) counties as of today.
The virus appears to be affecting the state's higher population areas such as the Gulf Coast, Jackson, Meridian metropolitan areas, Desoto and Lee counties more intensely. Communities that have had people travel to or from larger U.S. cities also appear to have a higher incident of the disease. As of today, only Issaquena County has reported no cases of the COVID-19.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Your Clarksdale Press Register will keep readers posted as we learn more information and as news changes. All stories about coronavirus are being offered free to the community and will not be put behind the Clarksdale Press Register paywall.