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COVID-19

COVID-19 hospitalizations and seven-day averages continue falling Monday

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Decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the seven-day average for new cases in Mississippi continue to show two areas that hold a glimmer of hope that the worst of the surge may be beginning to wane.

The first is that hospitalizations have been virtually flat and even decreased a bit. On Jan. 4, total hospitalizations for the virus reached a high of 1,518. Friday’s hospitalizations totaled 1,337, a decrease of 181 people.

This optimistic news is tempered by the fact that this number is still about 100 patients higher than the peak last summer, and that numbers of seriously ill patients and those on ventilators are about as high as they have ever been in the state. Hospitals across the state — including Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg — are reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients.

The second bit of good news is that for the fifth consecutive day, the seven-day average of cases is slightly lower than it was a month ago. Monday’s seven-day average is about 1,946 cases, about 215 fewer cases (about 10%) than the seven-day average of Dec. 18 of 2,161 cases per day. Note that five days don’t make a trend; however, the signs are good.

The expected surge of new cases and hospitalizations after the year-end holidays may still hit within the next week or so. In addition, Mississippi has already seen two record one-day highs in COVID-19 deaths this month: 98 reported Jan. 12 and 91 reported Jan. 5.

Sunday and Monday, Warren County reported 89 new COVID-19 cases and one new death. Cumulative totals in the county are 3,534 cases and 98 deaths.

Based on the first 18 days of January, Warren County could see between 1,300 and 1,400 cases by the end of the month, eclipsing all monthly case totals so far.

Sunday and Monday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 3,063 new COVID-19 cases statewide, bringing the cumulative total of cases to 253,932.

In the first 18 days of January, the state has reported 38,121 new cases, with two days of more than 3,000 cases. If current trends hold, the state is on track to see its worst month yet, with nearly 66,000 cases.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 643 with a daily average of about 46 cases daily. The seven-day average is about 40 cases a day, with 282 cases reported in the past seven days. The county is on the governor’s list of COVID-19 hot spots that include all but four of Mississippi’s 82 counties — Claiborne, Issaquena, Sharkey and Tunica — three of which neighbor Warren.

COVID-19 is one of the state’s leading causes of death at this time, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. To see other causes of death in the state, including deaths from flu and pneumonia, click here.

State health officials are strongly urging Mississippians not to hold or attend any gatherings that include people not in their immediate families. In addition, they urge wearing a mask in public, keeping 6 feet of social distance and maintaining good hand hygiene.

The virus nationwide

The U.S. continues to lead the world in numbers of cases and deaths by a wide margin.

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 23.9 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 24.4 million. Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 397,612.

At least 1,730 people died of the virus Sunday in the U.S., and at least 169,641 new cases were reported. The numbers of new cases have increased about 3% in the last 14 days, and the rate of deaths has increased by about 26%. About 124,387 people were in the hospital Sunday for COVID-19, an increase of 3% in the past two weeks.

Since September, the average numbers of cases have risen steadily from about 35,000 new cases a day to nearly 220,000 per day. The U.S. is also averaging more than 3,300 deaths per day. Tuesday, the nation set a new one-day record of COVID-19 deaths when 4,406 people died in a single day.

Surges in COVID-19 deaths in California and Arizona are fueling the monumental U.S. death toll, which is quickly nearing 400,000.

The five worst-hit states are scattered around the country: Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina are averaging the highest rate of new cases per 100,000 people. The states with the highest number of new cases reported in the last seven days include California, Texas, New York, Florida and Georgia.

COVID-19 Vaccine news

Vicksburg and Warren County can expect to see several sites where residents can get vaccinated for COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

The first is a drive-thru site at Pemberton Mall, run jointly by the Mississippi State Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. City and county officials are hopeful that the site will be up and running the week of Feb. 1, but the opening will be dependent on having sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

Mission Primary Care and Medical Associates of Vicksburg have applied to administer the vaccine when supplies are made available.

Drive-thru sites are operated on the same model as testing sites: Residents must make an appointment either online or by phone. Currently, those 65 year of age and older, those with certain underlying conditions making them more vulnerable to the virus, health care providers and first responders are eligible to get vaccinated.

With the expansion of eligibility for the vaccine announced last week, MSDH ran through its allotment within 24 hours. Friday, MSDH announced that additional doses of vaccines have been allotted to Mississippi. The agency expects to be able to offer new vaccination appointments again beginning the week of Jan. 25. MSDH has assured residents that if they are scheduled to receive the second, required dose of vaccine, those appointments can still be scheduled now, indicating second shots have been set aside for those who need them.

A total of 109,354 Mississippians were inoculated against COVID-19 as of Jan. 16, including 9,588 who have received both required doses.

For information about vaccines, how and where to get vaccinated and vaccine distribution in Mississippi, please visit the MSDH website.

The federal government said Friday it has delivered some 31.2 doses of vaccine to states, territories and federal agencies since the vaccines became available.

About 10.6 million Americans have received the first dose of one of two COVID-19 vaccines, woefully short of the national goal of 20 million inoculated by the end of 2020. At least 1.6 million individuals have received both of the doses required for full inoculation. Additional information about the vaccines can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Monday, Jan. 18

In Warren County, MSDH reported 39 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 50 new cases Monday. The county saw one new death Sunday and no new deaths Monday. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 3,534, and the county’s death toll is 98. The seven-day average of new cases in the county is about 40 per day, about 29.8% higher than the average of cases a month ago.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,606 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 1,457 Monday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 253,932. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,946 per day, about 10% lower than the seven-day average a month ago. In January, 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 Sunday that 40 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide and three more died Monday, bringing the cumulative number of deaths in the state to 5,524. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.2%. This rate drops when the number of cases is going up faster than the number of deaths.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. The current surge began in Mississippi in late October, and nearly 1,000 deaths were reported in December. The state is seeing record deaths in January after record case numbers in December, with Tuesday’s 98 deaths and 91 deaths Jan. 9.

Of the 70 deaths MSDH reported Sunday, 10 occurred between Jan. 1 and Jan. 16 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Sunday by MSDH
DeSoto 3
Hancock 1
Jackson 1
Lowndes 2
Pearl River 1
Tate 1
Tippah 1

An additional 30 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Dec. 15, 2020, and Jan. 12, 2021, and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Attala 1
Bolivar 2
DeSoto 1
Forrest 1
Hinds 4
Jones 1
Lowndes 3
Madison 1
Marion 1
Monroe 1
Panola 2
Pearl River 3
Pontotoc 1
Rankin 3
Tate 1
Union 2
Warren 1
Yazoo 1

The three deaths reported Monday occurred between Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Monday by MSDH
Panola 1
Stone 1
Wayne 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, and Sunday, Jan. 17. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s 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, 2020. Since Jan. 4, hospitalizations have remained flat and have even seen a slight decline. Regardless, 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. Friday, Jan. 15, was 1,337. The number includes 1,269 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 67 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 333 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 207 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 198,888 through Sunday, Jan. 10. It represents about 78.3% of the cumulative 253,932 cases reported as of Monday, Jan. 18.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Dec. 28, was 2,566, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 2,468, or about 69.8% of the 3,534 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Jan. 18. The county has an estimated 968 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, Jan. 16, is 1,987,621 or about 66.8% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results about once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (which shows whether enough testing is being done, positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 25.4% Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 10.9%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 209 Monday, unchanged since Friday. About 33.1%, or 1,829, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 9,944 Monday, about 3.9% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 38 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 that information 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 Jan. 3.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website or call the COVID-19 hotline seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at 877-978-6453 or 601-965-4071.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News