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Mississippi COVID-19 deaths top 5,000 Wednesday



The Mississippians who have died from COVID-19 number more than 5,000 as of Wednesday, and the number of people currently hospitalized for the virus top 1,500.

As the virus continues to rage across the country, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported nearly 2,800 new COVID-19 cases statewide Wednesday and 38 deaths. Warren County reported 83 cases and one additional death.

In the first six days of January, the state has reported 12,424 new cases. The state’s seven-day average of new cases is about 2,168 per day with 15,180 new cases reported, about 17.5% higher than a month ago.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 591 with a daily average of 42.2 cases. The seven-day average is over 43 cases a day, with 305 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.

The huge number of cases means a corresponding rise in the number of hospitalizations in the state. With more than 1,500 Mississippians hospitalized, 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.

State health officials expect cases, hospitalizations and deaths to go even higher this month after the Christmas and New Year holidays and 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.

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 21.1 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 21.6 million. Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise although the rate of new cases seems to be slowing slightly.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 357,394.

At least 3,664 people died of the virus Tuesday in the U.S., and at least 238,999 new cases were reported. With reporting back to normal after the holidays, new cases are again on the rise. The numbers of new cases have increased about 2% in the last 14 days. The rate of deaths has dropped about 2% in the past two weeks; however, the number of people hospitalized across the nation continues to rise. About 131,200 people were in the hospital Tuesday for COVID-19, an increase of 10% in the past two weeks.

Health officials from coast to coast are bracing for the coming spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths after the year-end holidays.

California continues to see extraordinary numbers of new cases, averaging more than 38,000 a day over the past seven days. Texas is averaging more than 18,000 a day, and Florida’s average is more than 14,000. New York is again experiencing large numbers of new cases, nearing a seven-day average of 14,000 cases daily.

In the U.S., five states — Colorado, California, Florida, New York and Georgia — have seen cases of the COVID-19 variant first reported in the U.K. Dec. 8. As of Jan. 1, 33 countries have reported cases. The variant is more contagious by about half but does not appear to be more severe or deadly.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Wednesday, Jan. 6

In Warren County, MSDH reported 83 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and one new death. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 2,997, and the county’s death toll is 81. The seven-day average of new cases in the county is 43.6 per day, about 80% higher than the average cases of a month ago.

Statewide, MSDH reported 2,791 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 228,235. The seven-day average of new cases is 2,168.6 per day, about 17.5% higher 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 Wednesday that 38 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide, a new one-day record. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 5,013. 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 the state saw record deaths in December and again in January; 85 cases were reported Dec. 29 and 91 cases Jan. 6. Nearly 1,000 deaths were reported in December.

Of the 38 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 34 occurred between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday by MSDH
Adams 1
Alcorn 1
Claiborne 1
Desoto 3
Forrest 1
Franklin 2
Harrison 4
Hinds 1
Lawrence 1
Leake 1
Lee 2
Leflore 1
Lincoln 1
Madison 1
Marion 2
Pearl River 2
Pike 1
Pontotoc 1
Rankin 3
Sunflower 1
Tippah 1
Tishomingo 1
Yazoo 1

An additional four COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Dec. 4 and Dec. 31 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Chickasaw 1
Union 2
Warren 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5. 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. 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. Monday, Jan. 4, was 1,518. The number includes 1,444 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 74 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 349 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 223 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 182,103 through Sunday, Jan. 3. It represents about 79.8% of the cumulative 228,235 cases reported as of Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Dec. 16, was 2,219, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 2,138, or about 71.3% of the 2,997 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Jan. 6. The county has an estimated 778 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. 2, is 1,822,215 or about 61.2% 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 (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 21.6% Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 13.3%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 226 Wednesday, a decrease of one since Tuesday. About 35%, or 1,754, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 9,541 Wednesday, about 4.2% 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 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 Dec. 20.

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.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News