Could Mississippi being coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The state reported only 511 new cases on Monday, the lowest number since 393 cases were reported July 13. Mississippi reported several days of cases under 600 last week, after routinely reporting over 1,000 new cases daily in late July and early August.
As of Monday, Mississippi has reported 78,405 cases of coronavirus since its first case was reported March 14. Coahoma County has reported 910 cases since its first case was reported March 18.
Coahoma County’s death toll from the disease increased by one to 14 last week as the disease takes its toll on the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
The county has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities with that number climbing from 830 cases on Aug. 17, to 910 today. Two deaths were first reported in local nursing homes on Aug. 5 and that number has not changes since.
Frantic testing in the community just before school started across the state saw the number of cases in the community and Mississippi skyrocket. The number has also been linked to the end of state and federal assistance for that ran out in late July. Those who test positive for the disease can get an extra two weeks – and sometimes longer – of unemployment assistance if they test positive for COVID-19.
Oddly Coahoma County has only recorded 14 deaths since the disease was reported locally more than five months ago. That fatality figure is well below the percentage of counties reporting a similar number of cases.
Divided by Mississippi’s 82 counties the infection rate divides out to 956 cases per county. The fatality rate factors out to 27.41 per county.
As of Monday, 4.02-percent of the county’s 22,628 residents have contracted the coronavirus and only 0.061-percent of the community has died from the disease.
The Mississippi State Department of Health listed Coahoma County and 36 other counties as “Hot Spot” counties. Most of those counties are in the Mississippi Delta, Jackson and population center across the state such as Tupelo, Southaven, Starkville, Meridian, Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast.
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.
The pandemic began 160 days ago and at this point 98.5-percent of Coahoma County residents who have caught coronavirus have gotten well.
The City of Clarksdale announced the extension of indoor and outdoor gathering, bar capacity and social distancing requirements and when businesses can sell alcohol on July 27.
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.
Again, many of those reported sick have now 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.
As of Monday, 586,631 people have been tested by the MSDH Public Health Laboratory for the disease. As of today, 13.36-percent of those tested across the state have tested positive. MSDH said 62,707 of the state’s 78,405 reported cases, or 79.98-percent, are now well
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.
The number of new cases being reported locally also indicates many – especially young people -- may have the disease and just don’t know it. And they can still spread to disease to parents and grandparents.
Demographics from across the state and country also show the disease is more prevalent and under reported – for a variety of reasons – in minority communities.
As of today, 49.4-percent of the fatalities have been African American, 45-percent have been white and 5.6-percent have been others. The total cases by race have been 51.8-percent African American, 40.4-percent white and 7.8-percent other races.
Across the nation the Center for Disease Control reported 5,682,491 people or 1.73-percent of the nation’s 328.2 million people have contracted the disease and 176,223 or 3.1-percent of those infected have died.
County by County
The Mississippi State Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center have brought in mobile coronavirus testing unit to Coahoma County on four separate occasions and the Aaron E. Henry Center has also conducted testing in random communities.
Cases reported as of today in the following Mississippi counties were: Adams (739), Alcorn (526), Amite (262), Attala (571) Benton (195), Bolivar (1,351), Calhoun (451), Carroll (284), Chickasaw (562), Choctaw (151), Claiborne (426), Clarke (416), Clay (449), Coahoma (910), Copiah (1,038), Covington (702), Desoto (4,320), Forrest (2,047), Franklin (170), George (672), Greene (282), Grenada (902), Hancock (457), Harrison (3,061), Hinds (6,292), Holmes (1,013), Humphreys (328), Issaquena (94), Itawamba (483), Jackson (2,775), Jasper (462), Jefferson (211), Jeff Davis (271), Jones (2,080), Kemper (260), Lafayette (1,178), Lamar (1,360), Lauderdale (1,634), Lawrence (377), Leake (862), Lee (2,036), Leflore (1,206), Lincoln (926), Lowndes (1,227), Madison (2,792), Marion (760), Marshall (879), Monroe (974), Montgomery (390), Neshoba (1,403), Newton (627), Noxubee (510), Oktibbeha (1,304), Panola (1,248), Pearl River (697), Perry (284), Pike (1,073), Pontotoc (983), Prentiss (557), Quitman (303), Rankin (2,688), Scott (1,069), Sharkey (240), Simpson (897), Smith (454), Stone (290), Sunflower (1,204), Tallahatchie (602), Tate (833), Tippah (500), Tishomingo (511), Tunica (429), Union (826), Walthall (548), Warren (1,248), Washington (1,930), Wayne (833), Webster (282), Wilkinson (258), Winston (682), Yalobusha (348) and Yazoo (930).
County case numbers change as investigations find new information on a case's home county.
The state announced its first death due to coronavirus March 20. Fatalities attributed to the disease have been reported in Adams (28), Alcorn (6), Amite (6), Attala (25), Benton (1), Bolivar (42), Calhoun (9), Carroll (11), Chickasaw (20), Choctaw (4), Claiborne (15), Clarke (28), Clay (14), Coahoma (14), Copiah (30), Covington (17), Desoto (38), Forrest (61), Franklin (3), George (12), Greene (14), Grenada (28), Hancock (18), Harrison (46), Hinds (132), Holmes (50), Humphreys (12), Issaquena (2), Itawamba (14), Jackson (54), Jasper (12), Jefferson (8), Jeff Davis (7), Jones (69), Kemper (14), Lafayette (32), Lamar (24), Lauderdale (102), Lawrence (9), Leake (27), Lee (48), Leflore (70), Lincoln (46), Lowndes (47), Madison (79), Marion (25), Marshall (11), Monroe (56), Montgomery (12), Neshoba (97), Newton (13), Noxubee (13), Oktibbeha (46), Panola (21), Pearl River (45), Perry (9), Pike (40), Pontotoc (9), Prentiss (12), Quitman (2), Rankin (47), Scott (21), Sharkey (7), Simpson (38), Smith (13), Stone (9), Sunflower (33), Tallahatchie (11), Tate (31), Tippah (15), Tishomingo (18), Tunica (10), Union (20), Walthall (24), Warren (41), Washington (57), Wayne (21), Webster (13), Wilkinson (14), Winston (18), Yalobusha (10) and Yazoo (18) 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 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.
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.