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Mississippi sets new COVID-19 case record with more than 3,000 Wednesday, 88 in Warren County



Wednesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported more than 3,000 new cases statewide for the first time. Warren County also reported a record one-day new case count of 88, smashing the previous one-day high of 56 reported in August.

Mississippi reported 85 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, a new one-day record, breaking the record set Dec. 22 of 79 new deaths.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 473. The number of cases reported so far in December, 905, is far higher than July’s previous high of 521. Trends predicted a total case count in December of more than 900.

The county is on the governor’s list of hot spots that now include all but four of Mississippi’s 82 counties — Claiborne, Issaquena, Sharkey and Tunica — three of which neighbor Warren.

The state has now seen 940 deaths in December, making it the deadliest month for the virus in 2020. COVID-19 is one of the state’s leading causes of death at this time, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

Mississippi has reported nearly 60,000 new cases in December, obliterating the previous monthly high of around 33,000 set in November 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 any gatherings that include people not in their immediate families.

The state’s seven-day average of new cases is about 1,800 per day, with 12,730 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 hit more than 1,400 patients Monday, surpassing the July high of around 1,250 by at least 150 patients. 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.

Mississippi’s health care system is overwhelmed, with another surge expected after the Christmas and New Year holidays. “It’s bad, and it’s getting worse,” Dobbs said.

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 19.5 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 20 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 338,769.

At least 3,628 people died of the virus Tuesday in the U.S., and at least 201,106 new cases were reported. The drop in new cases in the last 14 days, about 11%, is likely because of holiday closures. The rate of deaths has dropped 9% in the past two weeks; however, the number of people hospitalized across the nation continues to rise. About 124,686 people were in the hospital for COVID-19, an increase of 10% in the past two weeks.

For the moment, the explosive growth in new cases seems to be slowing, but some states are still seeing record numbers of new cases. California, for example, added more than 300,000 cases for the seven days ending Dec. 22. The state’s seven-day average of new cases is 39,241, an increase of 20% over the average two weeks ago. The state accounts for more than 2 million cumulative cases and nearly 25,000 deaths to date.

The rate of new infections in the Midwest and Mountain States continue to show improvement, while the South is emerging as one of the nation’s most affected regions. Tennessee has been seeing more cases per capita than any other state, but is now showing improvement, and Alabama is setting records for new cases and deaths. Mississippi is among several states where new deaths are on the rise.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Wednesday, Dec. 30

In Warren County, MSDH reported 88 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and one new death. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 2,692, and the county’s death toll is 78. One death previously reported for Warren County was in error. The seven-day average of new cases in the county 40.9 per day, about eight times higher than in early November when the average was about five cases per day, and nearly four times higher than the beginning of December.

Statewide, MSDH reported 3,023 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, a one-day case record, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 213,055. The seven-day average of new cases is 2,058 per day, about 65% 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 29 more Mississippians died Wednesday of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 4,747. 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. During last summer’s surge, for example, July broke records for new cases. In August, deaths spiked. The current surge began in Mississippi in late October, and the state is seeing record deaths in December. In August, 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 has exceeded August’s with a one-day high of 85 reported Dec. 29.

Of the 29 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 27 occurred between Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Attala 2
Desoto 2
Forrest 1
George 1
Harrison 1
Hinds 1
Jefferson 1
Jones 1
Lafayette 3
Leake 1
Lee 1
Lincoln 2
Lowndes 3
Madison 1
Marion 1
Monroe 1
Pike 2
Sunflower 2

An additional two COVID-19 related deaths occurred Dec. 24 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified on death certificate reports
Neshoba 1
Warren 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29. 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. Monday, Dec. 28, was 1,409. The number includes 1,340 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 69 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 325 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 201 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 167,263 through Sunday, Dec. 27. It represents about 78.5% of the cumulative 213,055 cases reported as of Wednesday, Dec. 30.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Dec. 9, was 2,004, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,926, or about 71.5% of the 2,692 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Dec. 30. The county has an estimated 688 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 Wednesday, Dec. 19, is 1,669,558 or about 56.1% 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 20.1% Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 11.1% Tuesday, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 240 Wednesday, an increase of decrease of four since Tuesday. About 35.7%, or 1,694, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 9,271 Wednesday, about 4.4% 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. 13.

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