After a month of school, the fear of kids in class sparking a COVID-19 outbreak in Clarksdale and Coahoma County schools appear to be unfounded.
Since the start of school only three Coahoma County students have tested positive for COVID-19, but according to the Mississippi State Department of Health, 33 teachers and staff have tested positive and have been sent home with pay.
The state released it’s most recent number on Oct. 2 and it did say 48 students have been quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure.
MSDH also said the Test Positivity Rate – percent of those tested who are positive for the disease – was 5.3 percent for Coahoma County.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still a threat to the community, specifically the elderly and those who are overweight, suffer heart disease and respiratory illnesses, but Mississippi and Coahoma County appear to be on the downside of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mississippi reported no new deaths for the first time in seven month on Sunday, Sept. 20 and only 294 new cases and eight deaths Sunday, Oct. 11.
Coahoma County has seen the number of cases steadily decline since a spike in early July.
Mississippi reported several days of cases under 400 in early September, after routinely reporting over 1,000 new cases daily in late July and August.
As of Sunday, Mississippi has reported 104,932 cases of coronavirus and 3,101 deaths since its first case was reported March 14. Coahoma County has reported 1,208 cases since its first case was reported March 18.
Coahoma County’s death toll from the disease has increased to 34 as the disease takes its toll on the elderly and those in nursing homes or long term care facilities.
The county has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities with that number climbing to 86 as of today. Two deaths were first reported in local nursing homes on Aug. 5, two more in early September and two more this month.
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’s 34 fatalities is below the percentage of counties reporting a similar number of cases.
Divided by Mississippi’s 82 counties the infection rate divides out to 1,279 cases per county. The fatality rate factors out to 37.8 per county.
As of Sunday, 5.33-percent of the county’s 22,628 residents have contracted the coronavirus and only 0.15-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 in July. 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 208 days ago and at this point 99.8-percent of Coahoma County residents who have caught coronavirus have gotten well.
As of Monday the state says 90,577 of the state’s 104,932 known cases or 86.31-percent have gotten well.
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.
As of Monday, 904,005 of the state’s 2.876 million people have been tested by the MSDH Public Health Laboratory for the disease.
Across the nation the Center for Disease Control reported 7,694,865 people or 2.3-percent of the nation’s 328.2 million people have contracted the disease and 213,614 or 2.7-percent of those infected have died.