Two new cases reported in Coahoma County



Coahoma County reported two new cases of COVID-19 Monday raising the count to 58 cases over the past 41 days and two fatalities.

Coahoma County had a population of 22,628 according to 2018 census estimates. As of today 0.256-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 started last week with no new cases, but saw the infection rate climb mid-week and no new cases Thursday and Saturday. 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 41-days into the pandemic and it is apparent most of those 58 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.

Rural counties appear to be doing better in both combatting the disease and because there are not as many people to be infected.


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.

Gov. Tate Reeves lifted certain restrictions for select businesses over the weekend, but left others as non-essential and said they must remain closed for seven more days.

Reeves said Friday that most retail businesses can reopen with social distancing and other guidelines in place.

“We’re starting to reopen our economy,” said Reeves. “But we’re not slamming the door wide open. It’s not a light switch that you turn on and off. It’s a dimmer.”

Reeves also said the state could clamp back down if the virus re-emerges and the infection rate climbs.

Reeves also pointed out businesses such as museums, casinos, bars and clubs, gyms and both barber and beauty salons will remain closed.

Reeves added that he never said people could not go to church and that priviledge is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Mayor Chuck Espy said Thursday there is reason to hope, but he also begged the community to continue to follow shelter-in-place restriction, for select businesses to remain closed and a high level of hygiene that included washing hands and social distancing.

“The numbers continue to spike in Mississippi and the rate of death continues,” said Espy. “The Governor (Tate Reeves) is working very hard to make a decision.

“I’m asking people to use common sense,” said Espy. “If you don’t have to get out, stay at home, shelter in place until a better day.”

The city could convene a special meeting Monday to address the local shutdown order.

President Donald Trump has outlined steps that need to occur for states to reopen the economy:

• 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.

Restrictions could be lifted again on Monday with the state probably saying or at least indicating what it might do as early as today.

Clarksdale’s Board of Mayor and Commissioners voted last week to continue shelter-in-place regulations. Coahoma County Supervisors met Wednesday morning and voted to follow the state’s direction and keep the community closed down.

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.

State numbers

Across the state, Mississippi's coronavirus count rose to 6,094 cases as of Sunday. MSHD reported 183 new cases in the state, down from the 229 reported Sunday and last Sunday’s record high of 300 new cases.

There were only two new cases in the state Monday, the lowest number of fatalities in more than a month. Six new fatalities were reported Sunday, down from eight reported Friday and 10 reported Wednesday. Mississippi has 229 deaths related to COVID-19. Mississippi has a population of 2.987 million people and as of today 0.204-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 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 52-percent of the cases are African American, 33.4-percent are white, 10.1-percent are listed as other and 4.5-percent are under investigation by MSHD. The fatality ratio shows that 60.7 percent of those who have died were African American and 38.9 percent were white and those percentages have also varied little since numbers started being released.

MSDH numbers also show that 76.8-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 130 followed by hypertension at 118, diabetes at 104 and obesity at 70. Only five deaths have not had some type of underlying condition contribute to a fatality.

Mississippi also leads the southeast in the number percentage of tests conducted. As of today, 63,462 people (2.12-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.

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 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 (116), Alcorn (8), Amite (26), Attala (86) Benton (9), Bolivar (101), Calhoun (50), Carroll (20), Chickasaw (64), Choctaw (13), Claiborne (19), Clarke (47), Clay (31), Coahoma (58), Copiah (79), Covington (51), Desoto (266), Forrest (190), Franklin (17), George (11), Greene (4), Grenada (27), Hancock (60), Harrison (159), Hinds (421), Holmes (114), Humphreys (18), Itawamba (49), Jackson (224), Jasper (32), Jefferson (12), Jeff Davis (27), Jones (130), Kemper (49),  Lafayette (88), Lamar (92), Lauderdale (304), Lawrence (36), Leake (161), Lee (70), Leflore (137), Lincoln (136), Lowndes (45), Madison (208), Marion (58), Marshall (41), Monroe (144), Montgomery (19), Neshoba (156),  Newton (64), Noxubee (52), Oktibbeha (46), Panola (38), Pearl River (153), Perry (26), Pike (136), Pontotoc (18), Prentiss (32), Quitman (14), Rankin (171), Scott (258), Sharkey (5), Simpson (40), Smith (65), Stone (22), Sunflower (52), Tallahatchie (11), Tate (38), Tippah (52), Tishomingo (8), Tunica (35), Union (15), Walthall (29), Warren (50), Washington (77), Wayne (19), Webster (16), Wilkinson (68), Winston (40), Yalobusha (19) and Yazoo (126).

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 (7), Bolivar (7), Calhoun (3), Carroll (1), Chickasaw (5), Choctaw (1), Clarke (3), Clay (2), Coahoma (2), Copiah (1), Desoto (4), Forrest (8), Franklin (1), George (1), Greene (1), Hancock (5), Harrison (6), Hinds (7), Holmes (5), Humphreys (3), Itawamba (2), Jackson (6), Jasper (1), Jeff Davis (1), Jones (1), Kemper (1), Lafayette (3), Lamar (2),  Lauderdale (19), Leake (1), Lee (4), Leflore (15), Lincoln (9), Lowndes (2), Madison (6), Marion (5), Marshall (2), Monroe (9), Montgomery (1), Neshoba (3), Oktibbeha (3), Panola (2), Pearl River (14), Perry (1), Pike (5), Pontotoc (2), Prentiss (1), Rankin (5), Smith (4), Sunflower (2), Tallahatchie (1), Tippah (7), Tunica (1), 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 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. 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.