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COVID-19

COVID-19 seven-day average and hospitalizations continue to fall in Mississippi

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COVID-19 vaccinations

A total of 165,875 Mississippians have been vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Jan. 22, including 15,089 who have received both of the required shots to achieve full immunization.

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

About 16.2 million Americans received the first dose of one of two COVID-19 vaccines as of Jan. 22 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, still short of the previous administration’s goal of 20 million inoculated by the end of 2020. At least 2.8 million individuals have received both doses required for full inoculation. Additional information about the vaccines can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The virus in Mississippi

The state continues to see decreases in Mississippi COVID-19 hospitalizations and in the seven-day average for new cases. The decreases show hope that the worst of the surge that began in late October is beginning to wane.

State health officials are concerned, however, that the virus variant first reported in the United Kingdom last month could quickly put an end to any decreases. To date, no cases of the variant have been confirmed in Mississippi. At least 195 cases in about two dozen states have been confirmed nationwide.

Hospitalizations have decreased since the recent peak of 1,518 reported Jan. 4. Thursday’s Mississippi COVID-19 hospitalizations totaled 1,128, a decrease of 390 patients, or about 25%.

This optimistic news is tempered by the fact that this number is on par with 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 still reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients.

For the 10th consecutive day, the seven-day average of cases is slightly lower than it was a month ago. Saturday’s seven-day average is about 1,736 cases, about 361 fewer cases (about 17.2%) than the seven-day average of Dec. 23 of 2,097 cases per day.

In Warren County, cases and deaths are still on the rise. Saturday, the county reported 25 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths. Cumulative totals in the county are 3,674 cases and 103 deaths.

Based on the 931 new cases reported for the first 23 days of January, Warren County could see between 1,200 and 1,300 cases by the end of the month, eclipsing all monthly case totals so far. If trends continue for the month, the county will see about 34 deaths in January. With eight more days left in the month, the county has already set a record for monthly deaths at 25, exceeding the tied records set in December and August of 21 deaths.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 508 with a daily average of about 36 cases daily. The seven-day average is about 33 cases a day, with 229 cases reported in the past seven days. The county remains 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.

Saturday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,856 new COVID-19 cases statewide, bringing the cumulative total of cases to 263,023.

In the first 23 days of January, the state reported 47,212 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 about 64,000 cases. With 965 deaths reported to date this month, Mississippi is on track to see more than 1,300 deaths by the end of January, making it the deadliest month since the crisis began.

Mississippi has already seen two record one-day highs in COVID-19 deaths this month: 98 reported Jan. 12 and 91 reported Jan. 5.

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

COVID-19 is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death. The country 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 24.9 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 25.4 million. Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise; however, their rates appear to be falling across the nation.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 414,070.

At least 3,734 people died of the virus Friday in the U.S., and at least 191,912 new cases were reported. The numbers of new cases have decreased about 30% in the last 14 days, and the rate of deaths is flat. About 116,264 people were in the hospital Friday for COVID-19, a decrease of about 5% in the past two weeks.

While the nation’s new cases are seeing a decline, health officials are concerned that the more contagious variant first seen in the United Kingdom will make the decline a temporary one.

Friday’s national seven-day average was 181,105 cases per day. The U.S. is also averaging more than 3,300 deaths per day. On Jan. 12, the nation set a new one-day record of COVID-19 deaths when 4,406 people died in a single day. Since then, the nation has recorded more than 4,000 deaths in one day twice more.

California is the first state with more than 3 million cumulative cases and is adding about 30,000 cases every day, a decline over the past two weeks. New York City has become a virus epicenter once again, reporting nearly 14,000 new cases a day, while cases are down sharply across the Midwest with the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas all seeing sustained declines.

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

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Saturday, Jan. 23

In Warren County, MSDH reported 25 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 3,674, and the county’s death toll is 103. The seven-day average of new cases in the county is about 32.7 per day, about 22.5% higher than the average of cases a month ago.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,856 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 263,023. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,736 per day, about 17% 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 Saturday that 39 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the cumulative number of deaths in the state to 5,752. 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 98 deaths reported Jan. 12 and 91 deaths Jan. 9.

Of the 39 deaths MSDH reported Saturday, 26 occurred between Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Saturday by MSDH
Adams 1
Attala 1
Covington 1
Forrest 2
Grenada 1
Harrison 2
Hinds 1
Itawamba 1
Jackson 2
Jefferson 1
Jefferson Davis 1
Lafayette 1
Lee 1
Monroe 2
Noxubee 1
Pike 1
Pontotoc 1
Rankin 2
Smith 1
Sunflower 1
Wayne 1

An additional 13 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Dec. 28, 2020, and Jan. 18, 2021, and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Attala 1
Hancock 1
Hinds 1
Jefferson Davis 1
Lafayette 3
Lincoln 1
Marshall 1
Oktibbeha 1
Sunflower 1
Wayne 1
Winston 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. 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 began rising steadily Nov. 4, 2020. Since Jan. 4, hospitalizations have seen a decline. Regardless, Mississippi COVID-19 hospitalizations still threaten the state’s health care system as never before.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, was 1,128. The number includes 1,078 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 50 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 307 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 181 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 207,769 through Sunday, Jan. 17. It represents about 79% of the cumulative 263,023 cases reported as of Saturday, Jan. 23.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Saturday, Jan. 2, was 2,842, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 2,739, or about 74.6% of the 3,674 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Jan. 23. The county has an estimated 832 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when Mississippi COVID-19 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 28.1% Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 9.4%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 200 Saturday, a decrease of one since Friday. Residents of LTC facilities have shown to be disproportionately vulnerable to dying of the virus. About 32.6%, or 1,873, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 10,071 Saturday, about 3.8% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 38 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities, about 36.9% of the 103 reported deaths in the county.

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. 10.

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