Mississippi announced single-digit deaths due to coronavirus for the first time in over a month with nine death reported by the Mississippi State Health Department Friday.
The state has recorded 803 deaths since it started counting on March 12.
Coahoma County saw only one new case of COVID-19 on Friday and 132 people have now been infected since the community reported its first case on March 18. Less than a half a percent of Coahoma County has contracted coronavirus over the past 80 days
The county has 32 cases over the past 16 days after two weeks of intense testing around the county uncovered more cases.
“I want to remind everyone to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and remember the disease is still out there and people continue to die from it,” said Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy at a noon meeting Thursday. “The numbers across the state are still higher than they were 30 days ago. We need to remain vigilant.”
The county reported its fourth death from the disease on Thursday, May 28.
The city passed State Executive Orders 1491 and 1492 Thursday which allow most businesses to reopen with certain requirements and allow gathering indoors of up to 20 people and outdoors of up to 100 people.
A new testing effort by the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center has apparently proved people in the community are not seeking healthcare if they feel sick or they don’t have the financial means to seek testing.
The number of new cases being reported locally also indicate many – especially young people -- may have the disease and just don’t know it.
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.
Health officials have warned of spikes in the case count as the state reopens businesses, restaurants, movie theaters and gym.
Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will clamp back down on the economy if he sees a resurgence of the disease. Reeves issued Executive Order 1492 last week that he said fully opened Mississippi’s economy and it took effect Monday morning.
Statewide, the number of new cases reported stood at 209 Friday, down from the 238 reported Thursday and the 302 reported Wednesday. A high state record of the 402 news cases was reported Friday May 22.
As of Thursday there were 16,769 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the state.
There were 12 new deaths statewide on Thursday, down from the 15 reported Wednesday and 28 reported Tuesday. Most of the new cases are still being reported in nursing homes and counties in South Mississippi.
The statistics continue to confirm data that mid-sized communities with lower populations but adequate healthcare are handling their fight against COVID-19 better than others. It should be pointed out all cities and towns have unique factors affecting their numbers.
Gov. Tate Reeves has said not all areas of the state have reported high numbers and local officials should be willing to make their own decisions.
Coahoma County had a population of 22,628 according to 2018 census estimates. As of today 0.58-percent (half a percent) of the county's population has been diagnosed with the disease.
The county is 80-days into the pandemic and it is apparent most of those 132 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.
MSDH now says 11,203 people – 66.8 percent of Mississippians who had the disease -- have recovered.
Mississippi has a population of 2.987 million people and as of today 0.56-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.
Mississippi leads the southeast in the number percentage of tests conducted. As of today, 201,670 people (6.75-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.
The disease continues to sweep through nursing homes with 1,969 cases reported in LTC (Long Term Care) facilities on Friday. The state has also recorded 410 deaths – or 51-percent of the state’s total fatalities – coming from nursing homes.
Coahoma County initially reported a case of coronavirus in a nursing home on March 22, but that case has now been determined to have been pneumonia.
MSDH is also releasing data on who is being affected most by coronavirus.
The state again said 59.6-percent of the cases are African American, 30.1-percent are white and 10.3-percent are listed as other. The fatality ratio shows that 52.6-percent of those who have died were African American and 42.2 percent were white and those percentages have also varied little since numbers started being released.
MSDH numbers also show that 77.9-percent of those identified with coronavirus are not being hospitalized. 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. 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 (204), Alcorn (19), Amite (65), Attala (312) Benton (14), Bolivar (169), Calhoun (68), Carroll (119), Chickasaw (143), Choctaw (52), Claiborne (116), Clarke (156), Clay (125), Coahoma (132), Copiah (334), Covington (183), Desoto (593), Forrest (600), Franklin (29), George (30), Greene (30), Grenada (110), Hancock (90), Harrison (268), Hinds (1,104), Holmes (444), Humphreys (64), Itawamba (89), Jackson (314), Jasper (168), Jefferson (42), Jeff Davis (82), Jones (709), Kemper (156), Lafayette (156), Lamar (252), Lauderdale (765), Lawrence (107), Leake (455), Lee (197), Leflore (282), Lincoln (281), Lowndes (252), Madison (778), Marion (116), Marshall (89), Monroe (269), Montgomery (84), Neshoba (739), Newton (292), Noxubee (195), Oktibbeha (283), Panola (87), Pearl River (212), Perry (51), Pike (204), Pontotoc (49), Prentiss (53), Quitman (32), Rankin (463), Scott (663), Sharkey (7), Simpson (105), Smith (156), Stone (32), Sunflower (96), Tallahatchie (31), Tate (93), Tippah (76), Tishomingo (36), Tunica (58), Union (89), Walthall (67), Warren (199), Washington (199), Wayne (280), Webster (88), Wilkinson (85), Winston (124), Yalobusha (111) and Yazoo (298).
County case numbers change as investigations find new information on a case's home county. Cases reported also tend to increase late in the week 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 (16), Alcorn (1), Amite (1), Attala (18), Bolivar (11), Calhoun (4), Carroll (11), Chickasaw (14), Choctaw (2), Claiborne (5), Clarke (19), Clay (4), Coahoma (4), Copiah (4), Covington (2), Desoto (10), Forrest (39), Franklin (2), George (2), Greene (1), Grenada (4), Hancock (12), Harrison (7), Hinds (26), Holmes (31), Humphreys (7), Itawamba (7), Jackson (15), Jasper (4), Jefferson (1), Jeff Davis (3), Jones (33), Kemper (11), Lafayette (4), Lamar (5), Lauderdale (69), Lawrence (1), Leake (12), Lee (8), Leflore (38), Lincoln (31), Lowndes (9), Madison (29), Marion (9), Marshall (3), Monroe (25), Montgomery (1), Neshoba (45), Newton (4), Noxubee (6), Oktibbeha (14), Panola (3), Pearl River (31), Perry (3), Pike (11), Pontotoc (3), Prentiss (3), Rankin (9), Scott (12), Smith (11), Sunflower (3), Tallahatchie (1), Tate (1), Tippah (11), Tunica (3), Union (7), Warren (10), Washington (8), Wayne (3), Webster (5), Wilkinson (9), Winston (1), Yalobusha (6) and Yazoo (5) counties as of today.
The virus also 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 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.