Coahoma County reports first COVID-19 fatality

By FLOYD INGRAM / THE PRESS REGISTER,

Coahoma county reported its first fatality due to coronavirus Saturday.

The Mississippi State Department of Health released the number and apparently there had been some confusion between where the person actually lived and where they died.

Coahoma County Emergency Management Agency executive Johnny Tarzi said he had no details on the fatality other than he had been notified by MSDH and was checking into the situation.

“I would be glad to give you more details, if I knew them,” said Tarzi. “I am in contact with the state health department and will be glad to give out the details I can when I get them.”

Tarzi urged the community to remain calm and follow the shelter-in-place guidelines mandated by the state starting today.

 

The numbers

 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Coahoma County rose by one Saturday and now stands at 27 after the county first reported two cases on March 18.

And while the community did report its first death today, Coahoma County is 18-days into the pandemic and it is apparent some of those 27 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.

The Mississippi State Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, brought in a mobile coronavirus testing unit Friday 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.

Across the state, Mississippi's coronavirus count rose by 97 from 1,358 Friday to 1,477 today. There were six new fatalities associated with the disease Saturday and 35 deaths have reported in the state.

Mississippi has a population of 2.987 million people and as of Saturday April 3, .0494-percent have the disease.

The state daily new case number dropped dramatically Saturday. Mississippi set a high in new cases Friday with 181 cases reported. Mississippi initially reported 50 cases on March 19. All new cases suspected by the state are being confirmed by federal health authorities

Two of the interesting statistics coming out the MSDH numbers are that 69-percent of those identified with coronavirus are not being hospitalized and 59 percent of those infected are female. MSDH numbers also indicate 54-percent of those with the illness are over the age of 50 and 11.7-percent are between the age of 18 and 29.

The number of tests conducted also appears to be slowing. As of today, 5,685 people had been tested by the MSDH Public Health Laboratory for the disease, up 90 from the 5,595 that had been tested Friday. 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 seems to be getting more tests than many states. Urban areas of the state -- and nation -- are getting more testing. The more rural area 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

 

Cases reported as of today in the following Mississippi counties were: Adams (16), Alcorn (6), Amite (6), Attala (14) Benton (5), Bolivar (34), Calhoun (4), Carroll (5), Chickasaw (15), Choctaw (8), Claiborne (1), Clarke (5), Clay (7), Coahoma (27), Copiah (12), Covington (4), Desoto (118), Forrest (34), Franklin (4), George (4), Grenada (4), Hancock (30), Harrison (70), Hinds (140), Holmes (17), Humphreys (4), Itawamba (3), Jackson (79), Jasper (3), Jefferson (2), Jones (9), Kemper (4),  Lafayette (21), Lamar (13), Lauderdale (61), Lawrence (4), Leake (8), Lee (28), Leflore (22), Lincoln (14), Lowndes (13), Madison (67), Marion (6), Marshall (20), Monroe (12), Montgomery (10), Neshoba (6),  Newton (6), Noxubee (5), Oktibbeha (24), Panola (10), Pearl River (43), Perry (13), Pike (23), Pontotoc (12), Prentiss (9), Quitman (5), Rankin (66), Scott (17), Sharkey (2), Simpson (5), Smith (6), Sunflower (18), Tallahatchie (2), Tate (14), Tippah (31), Tishomingo (1), Tunica (15), Union (6), Walthall (12), Warren (3), Washington (31), Wayne (2), Webster (11), Wilkinson (25), Winston (11), Yalobusha (9) and Yazoo (19).

County case numbers change as investigations find new information on a case's home county. Coahoma County reported its first two cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, March 18.

The state announced its first death due to coronavirus March 20. Fatalities attributed to the disease have been reported in Amite (1), Bolivar (1), Coahoma (1), Chickasaw (2), Desoto (1), Hancock (1), Harrison (3), Holmes (1), Humphreys (1), Jackson (1), Lafayette (1), Lauderdale (1), Lee (1), Leflore (1), Marshall (1), Monroe (1), Montgomery (1), Panola (1), Pearl River (1), Perry (1), Pontotoc (1), Rankin (1), Sunflower (1), Tippah (3), Tunica (1), Webster (1),  Wilkinson (3), and Yazoo (1) counties as of today.

No deaths attributed to coronavirus have been reported in Coahoma County as of Friday, April 3. A man with connections to Coahoma County and who often stayed here but listed his address at Crenshaw in Panola County has died of the disease.

The virus appears to be affecting the state's higher population areas such as the Gulf Coast, Jackson metropolitan area, Desoto County and Lee County 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.

 

City regulations

 

Clarksdale residents have been told by city and county officials to not gather in groups of more than 10 people. City officials are urging people to wash their hand religiously and follow strict personal hygiene practices to combat the disease.

No official reason has been given as to why Coahoma County has a higher per capita number of cases as opposed to other counties of similar size. Coahoma County had a population of 22,628 according to 2018 census estimates. As of today .274 percent of the county's population has been diagnosed with the disease. Bolivar, Leflore and Washington counties have 32, 21 and 31 cases respectively, but larger populations.

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.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is reporting presumptive positive cases of coronavirus. Presumptive cases are reports that have been MSDH lab-tested and are awaiting further testing and confirmation by the federal CDC.

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.

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