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Mississippi and Warren County COVID-19 trends continue in steep upward direction



Tuesday saw Mississippi’s highest number of deaths reported in one day since the crises began: 79. The one-day record of deaths was also broken in Warren County with five deaths reported. The state is on track to see more than 1,000 deaths in December.

Warren County reported 22 new cases Tuesday. The 14-day total of new cases is 374, putting the county well into Gov. Tate Reeves hot spot definition that brings with it the probability of increased COVID-19 restrictions.

The county has been within the governor’s parameters since Dec. 8, nearly three weeks. One day later, Dec. 9, the governor held his last news conference specifically regarding the pandemic. The number of cases reported so far in December, 562, is now more than July’s total of 521, with another nine days to go. Expect to see about 800 cases this month if the trend doesn’t change.

The last time Mississippi reported fewer than 1,000 new cases in one day was Nov. 24. Thirteen of the first 22 days in December have seen more than 2,000 cases per day.

With more than 44,000 new cases reported so far in December, the state will see more than 62,000 cases by the end of the month if the current trend continues. Cases to date in December already obliterate the previous monthly high of around 33,000 set only last month and the July surge of 31,500 cases.

State health officials expect cases, hospitalizations and deaths to go even higher in January after the Christmas and New Year holidays and are strongly urging Mississippians not to hold parties or other large gatherings that include people not in their immediate families.

“Parties should not be happening at all,” Dobbs said Tuesday, adding, “Do not go. Do not let your kids go.”

The state’s seven-day average of new cases is more than 2,000 per day, with 14,391 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.

The huge number of cases means a corresponding rise in the number of hospitalizations in the state. Hospitalizations have now surpassed the July high of around 1,250, and hospitals across Mississippi are reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients.

Mississippi’s health care system is overwhelmed, Dobbs said, with another surge expected after the Christmas and New Year holidays. As of Dec. 15, the Mississippi State Department of Health suspended elective surgeries statewide.

“It’s bad, and it’s getting worse,” Dobbs said.

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 18 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 18.5 million. Rates of infection, hospitalization and deaths continue to rise although the rate of new cases, especially, seems to be slowing at the moment.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 319,763.

At least 1,963 people died of the virus Monday in the U.S., and at least 201,723 new cases were reported. As expected, the rate of deaths is now increasing faster after a surge in new cases. Deaths have increased 19% in the past two weeks, while cases have gone up about 7%. The number of people hospitalized across the nation is about 115,350.

California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas all announced more than 1,000 deaths in the past week, while the Midwest and Mountain States continue to show improvement.

The South is emerging as the nation’s most affected region at the moment. Tennessee is seeing more cases per capita than any other state, while Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina all set weekly case records in the past seven days. Mississippi is among several states where new deaths are on the rise.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Tuesday, Dec. 22

In Warren County, MSDH reported 22 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and five new deaths, the highest number of deaths reported in one day since the crisis began. Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said the deaths were all elderly people. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 2,349, and the county’s death toll is 74. The seven-day average of new cases in the county 23.1 per day, more than five times higher than in early November when the average was about five cases per day.

Statewide, MSDH reported 2,191 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 197,691. The seven-day average of new cases is 2,056 per day, about 63% higher than 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 that 79 more Mississippians died Tuesday of COVID-19 statewide — a one-day record number of deaths in the state. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 4,490. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.3%. This rate drops when the number of cases is going up faster than the number of deaths.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. During last summer’s surge, for example, July broke records for new cases. In August, deaths surged. Before the current surge, the highest number of one-day deaths in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25. November and December case numbers have exceeded cases reported in July, and December’s death toll is on track to exceed August’s.

Of the 79 deaths MSDH reported Tuesday, 56 occurred between Dec. 12 and Dec. 21 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Tuesday
Adams 1
Alcorn 1
Bolivar 1
Coahoma 1
Copiah 1
Covington 2
Forrest 1
Grenada 3
Hancock 1
Harrison 4
Hinds 4
Holmes 1
Itawamba 1
Jackson 4
Lafayette 3
Leake 2
Lowndes 2
Madison 1
Marshall 1
Monroe 1
Neshoba 1
Noxubee 1
Oktibbeha 2
Prentiss 1
Rankin 4
Tippah 1
Tishomingo 1
Union 3
Warren 5
Yalobusha 1

An additional 23 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Nov. 20 and Dec. 16 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Adams 2
Bolivar 2
Coahoma 2
George 1
Grenada 1
Hinds 2
Jones 1
Lauderdale 1
Lee 1
Leflore 1
Marion 1
Rankin 2
Scott 2
Sunflower 2
Tate 1
Washington 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. 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. Sunday, Dec. 20, was 1,307. The number includes 1,257 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 50 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 326 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 189 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 154,669 through Sunday, Dec. 20. It represents about 78.2% of the cumulative 197,691 cases reported as of Tuesday, Dec. 22.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Dec. 1, was 1,802, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,728, or about 73.6% of the 2,349 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Dec. 22. The county has an estimated 547 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. 19, is 1,669,558 or about 56.1% 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 23.1% Monday, 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 234 Tuesday, an increase of one since Saturday. About 36.4%, or 1,636, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 8,952 Tuesday, about 4.5% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 37 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 Dec. 6.

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.

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