Coahoma County numbers for cases in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities jumped dramatically this week with the Mississippi State Department of Health now reporting 43 new cases in the space of a week.
Long-term care (LTC) facilities like nursing homes are considered high risk locations because their residents are older or in poor health. A single confirmed COVID-19 infection in an LTC facility resident, or more than one infection in employees or staff in a 14-day period constitutes an outbreak.
“Residential care facilities also represent group living facilities where COVID-19 can be easily spread,” MSDH said in on its website. “We investigate residents, staff and close contacts of infected individuals for possible exposure.”
The following cases have been reported in local LTCs:
• Clarksdale Nursing Center – 2 staff cases, 1 resident case, 0 deaths.
• Delta Manor – 62 staff cases, 86 resident cases, 2 deaths.
• Greenbough Health and Rehabilitation Center – 12 staff cases, 14 resident cases, 1 death.
Frantic testing in the community just before school started across the state sent the case count to 789 cases as of Thursday with more than 400 cases reported in July and just 200 cases reported in the first four months of the pandemic
Oddly Coahoma County has only reported 13 deaths since the disease was reported locally on March 18, well below the percentage of counties reporting a similar number of cases.
As of Monday, 3.48-percent of the county’s 22,628 residents have contracted the coronavirus and only 0.057-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.
Clarksdale Mayor and Board of Commissioners have voted to follow new mandates for the following segments of the community:
• All employees are required to keep at least 6 feet from other employees, or wear a face mask.
• All employees must be screened at the beginning of their shift.
• Employees in contact with the public must wear a face covering.
• Members of the public must wear a face covering at all times in a business, except for some circumstances such as eating, or special medical conditions.
Gatherings and events:
• Social gatherings are limited to 10 individuals indoors and 20 outdoors, and a distance of at least six feet between individuals must be maintained.
• A distance of six feet or more must be maintained between others at all public events, indoors and out, or else face coverings must be worn.
Those who test positive are being quarantined for two weeks and family members and co-workers can also be quarantined.
Several convenience stores in the area have closed after staff became infected. Major grocery stores and retail outlets remain open and are hiring replacement workers.
The pandemic began 149 days ago and at this point 98.35-percent of Coahoma County residents 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.
Statewide there were 1,081 new cases reported Thursday, after the state reported below 600 cases on three days earlier this week. Mississippi also reported 45 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday.
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.
The state has now reported 69,374 cases of the disease since the first case was reported in Mississippi on March 11. That number is expected to top 70,000 this weekend.
Still, with a population of 2.987 million, only 2.32-percent of the state has contracted the disease over the past five months.
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 Thursday 524,118 people have been tested by the MSDH Public Health Laboratory for the disease. As of today, 13.24-percent of those tested across the state have tested positive.
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.
Of the 69,374 cases now reported, the Mississippi State Department of Health said 49,836 have gotten well. That means 71.84-percent of the people who have gotten sick have recovered.
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, 50.4-percent of the fatalities have been African American, 43.9-percent have been white and 5.7-percent have been others. The total cases by race have been 52.7-percent African American, 39.1-percent white and 8.2-percent other races.
Across the nation the Center for Disease Control reported 5,119,711 people or 1.56-percent of the nation’s 328.2 million people have contracted the disease and 163,651 or 3.2-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 (642), Alcorn (439), Amite (240), Attala (533) Benton (154), Bolivar (1,156), Calhoun (426), Carroll (262), Chickasaw (488), Choctaw (138), Claiborne (409), Clarke (343), Clay (404), Coahoma (789), Copiah (971), Covington (637), Desoto (3,753), Forrest (1,858), Franklin (135), George (603), Greene (262), Grenada (856), Hancock (409), Harrison (2,651), Hinds (5,768), Holmes (923), Humphreys (299), Issaquena (27), Itawamba (395), Jackson (2,391), Jasper (408), Jefferson (196), Jeff Davis (240), Jones (1,947), Kemper (240), Lafayette (1,018), Lamar (1,241), Lauderdale (1,439), Lawrence (329), Leake (799), Lee (1,563), Leflore (959), Lincoln (846), Lowndes (1,102), Madison (2,489), Marion (689), Marshall (729), Monroe (831), Montgomery (345), Neshoba (1,306), Newton (555), Noxubee (463), Oktibbeha (1,136), Panola (1,091), Pearl River (567), Perry (248), Pike (951), Pontotoc (857), Prentiss (441), Quitman (275), Rankin (2,322), Scott (1,017), Sharkey (206), Simpson (821), Smith (412), Stone (224), Sunflower (1,071), Tallahatchie (547), Tate (746), Tippah (388), Tishomingo (444), Tunica (365), Union (700), Walthall (511), Warren (1,137), Washington (1,722), Wayne (789), Webster (248), Wilkinson (220), Winston (635), Yalobusha (318) and Yazoo (870).
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 (26), Alcorn (5), Amite (6), Attala (25), Benton (1), Bolivar (36), Calhoun (9), Carroll (11), Chickasaw (19), Choctaw (4), Claiborne (14), Clarke (28), Clay (14), Coahoma (13), Copiah (28), Covington (15), Desoto (31), Forrest (57), Franklin (2), George (8), Greene (13), Grenada (26), Hancock (15), Harrison (36), Hinds (121), Holmes (49), Humphreys (12), Issaquena (2), Itawamba (10), Jackson (45), Jasper (9), Jefferson (7), Jeff Davis (6), Jones (62), Kemper (14), Lafayette (20), Lamar (15), Lauderdale (93), Lawrence (8), Leake (27), Lee (42), Leflore (68), Lincoln (43), Lowndes (40), Madison (72), Marion (21), Marshall (9), Monroe (55), Montgomery (6), Neshoba (94), Newton (11), Noxubee (12), Oktibbeha (39), Panola (17), Pearl River (40), Perry (8), Pike (37), Pontotoc (9), Prentiss (10), Quitman (1), Rankin (38), Scott (20), Sharkey (5), Simpson (31), Smith (13), Stone (5), Sunflower (27), Tallahatchie (11), Tate (30), Tippah (14), Tishomingo (9), Tunica (7), Union (17), Walthall (21), Warren (35), Washington (44), Wayne (21), Webster (13), Wilkinson (13), Winston (16), Yalobusha (10) and Yazoo (13) 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.