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COVID-19

New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. approach July’s one-day record; 795 new cases in Mississippi

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Thursday, the U.S. saw its second highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day since the crisis began, with  76,195 new cases reported. The one-day record high of 77,299 new cases occurred July 16, according to a Reuters analysis.

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar attributed the increase in cases to behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a “major vector of disease spread.”

Deaths in the U.S. have also increased, with the seven-day average of 785, up 13% in the last week.

“We’re in a very serious moment right now,” Azar said.

Currently in the U.S., more than 8.4 million cumulative COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, and 223,087 Americans have died since the beginning of the outbreak, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world in numbers of infections and deaths, although new surges are being reported worldwide.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported seven new COVID-19 cases Friday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,543, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 795 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 113,876. The seven-day average of new cases is 660, higher by 183 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Friday that seven additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,238. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

The seven deaths MSDH reported Friday occurred between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Friday
Clarke 1
Hancock 1
Hinds 1
Marshall 2
Panola 1
Tippah 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. 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 rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They dropped again through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been rising since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, is 695, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 599 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 96 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 68 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 97,675 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 85.8% of the cumulative 113,876 cases reported Friday, Oct. 23.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Friday, Oct. 2, was 1,425, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,370, or about 88.9% of the 1,543 cumulative cases reported as of Friday, Oct. 23. The county has an estimated 118 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 Friday, Oct. 10, is 900,479 or about 30.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 16.6% Thursday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.7%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 130 Friday. About 40.2%, or 1,301, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 26 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 here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

COVID-19

Saban tests positive for COVID-19 again

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Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 a second time. (photo courtesy University of Alabama Athletics)

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has tested positive again for COVID-19 and will miss Saturday’s game with Auburn.

“This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19,” Dr. Jimmy Robinson and UA head trainer Jeff Allen said in a statement Wednesday morning. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a potential false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.”

Saban also tested positive a little over a month ago shortly before the game with the University of Georgia ,but he was still able to coach that game.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will fill in for Saban in Saturday’s game against the Tigers while Saban quarantines.

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COVID-19

Santa confirms that Christmas is not canceled

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With such an unprecedented year — we’ve been quarantined, adults working from home (or worse, losing jobs), students learning at home, restaurants and many other businesses shutting down, and families unable to visit each other — many children have been worried and wondering if Christmas is going to be canceled, too.

Well, thanks to Facebook and some familiar elves, parents have been able to reassure children that Christmas is indeed coming.

Santa reassured children that Christmas isn’t canceled.

The post, directly from Santa himself, is easing the minds of children everywhere. The elves captioned the photo “Important notice!” and it is going viral.

In the lengthy post, Santa confirms that he will be getting out on Dec. 24, and he, too, has been taking precautions against the pandemic.

Santa wrote: “It has come to my attention that children around the world are being told by their older siblings, parents, others adults, and even friends, that Christmas is not coming this year due to the COVID pandemic.

“This is simply not true. I have been practicing social distancing just as you have.”

Santa went on to say that no one at the North Pole has been infected and safety measures are being taken before his annual deliveries.

“All the toys and other presents will be totally disinfected before and after they are wrapped and put into my sleigh for delivery to your home, or to wherever you will be this year,” he wrote. “Do not worry my friends, I will not be spreading the virus nor will I be getting sick from anyone that has it. Christmas is not canceled.”

The post has racked up hundreds of likes and comments including many from parents praising Santa for his hard work.

Micki May is one of those grateful grandparents.

“My grandson was so worried and kept asking me if Santa Claus could get the ‘rona,” she said. “He was quite relieved when I read him Santa’s Facebook post.”

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COVID-19

Half of Mississippi’s counties are now under governor’s mask mandates

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Gov. Tate Reeves during a news conference Oct. 19, 2020. (photo via video screen grab)

Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced a continuation of his county-level attempt to lower the number of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi by adding 19 counties to the list of those under expanded restrictions.

Half of Mississippi’s counties — 41 of 82 — are now under mask mandates. The counties added Tuesday are Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lowndes, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Prentiss, Stone, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union. Click here to see a map showing the rest of the counties under the expanded restrictions and self-imposed mask mandates.

“This is a critical time,” Reeves said of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, asking Mississippians to please be extra cautious and look out for loved ones.

“There is much more COVID-19 around us,” he added, emphasizing that there is a greater risk to unknowingly pass the virus to loved ones as the state experiences a surge in new cases.

“The risk is greater,” he said.

Numerous health officials have called on the governor to issue a statewide mask mandate, but so far, he has resisted taking that action.

“If you issue the mask mandates on a county-by-county basis, based on where the number of cases is the largest, then that is the best strategy to convince the most number of our fellow Mississippians to wear a mask,” Reeves said.

To prove the point, the governor compared other states where mask mandates have been in place for months that now have much higher rates of infection than Mississippi.

He also said that he believes wearing a mask is helpful in slowing the spread of the virus and urged all Mississippi residents to wear masks in public.

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