The federal Food and Drug Administration is expected to give its approval Thursday to begin using the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the states. The emergency use approval will trigger nationwide distribution of the vaccine, and Mississippi is slated to receive enough doses for 25,000 people by next week. The first round of vaccines will go to health care workers on the front line of treating COVID-19 patients.
Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use Wednesday. Great Britain approved it last week and has already immunized thousands of people.
On the 16th consecutive day of reporting more than 1,000 new cases per day, Mississippi reported 2,283 new cases Thursday, a second consecutive day of 2,000-plus case reports. Half of the last 10 days have seen more than 2,000 cases per day reported.
The state’s seven-day average of new cases is nearing 2,000 per day, with 13,919 new cases reported in the last week. The highest seven-day average in the last surge was around 1,360 for the week ending July 30.
Warren County reported 21 new cases Thursday. The 14-day total of new cases is 284, putting the county well into Gov. Tate Reeves hot spot definition that brings with it the probability of increased COVID-19 restrictions. Wednesday, Reeves announced some new restrictions for the state, although he is still stopped short of ordering a state-wide mask mandate.
Hospitalizations are nearing the July high of around 1,250, and hospitals statewide are reporting that they have no ICU beds available. Dr. Thomas Dobbs, head of the Mississippi State Department of Health, said earlier this week that some hospitals are sending patients to other facilities for care because they no longer have capacity.
Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to over 15.4 million, and the rates of infection, hospitalization and deaths continue to rise.
At least 3,055 people died of the virus Wednesday and 218,667 new cases were reported. As expected, the rate of deaths is increasing steeply after a surge in new cases. Deaths have increased 36% in the past two weeks. The number of people hospitalized across the nation now exceeds 106,600.
In Warren County, MSDH reported 21 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and two new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 2,025, and the county’s death toll is 62. The seven-day average of new cases in the county has risen to 25.1 per day, about five times higher than in early November when the average was about five cases per day.
Statewide, MSDH reported 2,283 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 172,955. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,988.4 per day, more than double the seven-day average a month ago, when the state’s numbers were already on the rise. The current averages far outstrip the numbers seen at the height of the last surge in July.
At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In December, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.
MSDH reported Thursday that 42 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 4,083. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.5%. This rate has dropped as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.
Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.
Of the 42 deaths MSDH reported Thursday, 37 occurred between Nov. 28 and Dec. 9 in the following counties:
|County||Deaths reported Thursday|
An additional five COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Nov. 20 and Dec. 3 and were identified from death certificate reports.
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New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.
The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number has risen steadily since Nov. 4. COVID-19 hospitalizations threaten the state’s health care system as never before.
The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, was 1,241. The number includes 1,125 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 116 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 288 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 159 were on ventilators.
MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 136,627 through Sunday, Dec. 6. It represents about 79% of the cumulative 172,955 cases reported as of Thursday, Dec. 10.
The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Nov. 19, was 1,681, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,629, or about 80.4% of the 2,025 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Dec. 10. The county has an estimated 344 active cases.
These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).
The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Dec. 5, is 1,436,626 or about 48.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 23.9% Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 11.2%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.
The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 209 Thursday, an increase of six since Wednesday. About 37.4%, or 1,527, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 8,241, about 4.8% of the state’s total cases.
A total of 27 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.
MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 22.
For additional information, visit the MSDH website.