Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it expects to give the go-ahead to the Moderna vaccine Friday, the second vaccine in the nation’s arsenal against COVID-19, increasing availability of vaccines from coast-to-coast.
Monday, Mississippi received enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine for 25,000 people. The first round of vaccines will go to health care workers on the front line of treating COVID-19 patients, with vaccinations expected to begin Tuesday and Wednesday.
The virus: locally, state and nationwide
Warren County reported 25 new cases Tuesday. The 14-day total of new cases is 385, putting the county well into Gov. Tate Reeves hot spot definition that brings with it the probability of increased COVID-19 restrictions.
On the 21st consecutive day of reporting more than 1,000 new cases per day, Mississippi reported 2,205 new cases Monday. Eight days of the first 15 days in December have seen more than 2,000 cases per day.
With more than 30,000 new cases reported so far in December, the state will see more than 60,000 cases by the end of the month if the current trend continues. The number obliterates previous monthly highs of around 34,000. State health officials expect cases to go even higher in January after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The state’s seven-day average of new cases is nearly 2,200 per day, with 15,374 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. Hospitals across Mississippi are already reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients. As of Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health suspended elective surgeries statewide.
Hospitalizations have now surpassed the July high of around 1,250, and hospitals statewide are reporting that they have no ICU beds available.
Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 16.5 million, and the rates of infection, hospitalization and deaths continue to rise. The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis numbers more than 300,000.
At least 1,648 people died of the virus Monday in the U.S. and at least 201,073 new cases were reported. As expected, the rate of deaths is increasing steeply after a surge in new cases. Deaths have increased 65% in the past two weeks, while cases have gone up about 31%. The number of people hospitalized across the nation now exceeds 110,500.
Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Tuesday, Dec. 15
In Warren County, MSDH reported 25 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and two new deaths, one of which was a resident in a long-term care facility. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 2,187, and the county’s death toll is 67. The seven-day average of new cases in the county has risen to 29.3 per day, nearly six times higher than in early November when the average was about five cases per day.
Statewide, MSDH reported 2,205 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 183,300. The seven-day average of new cases is 2,196 per day, about double 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 48 more Mississippians died Tuesday of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 4,252. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.5%. This rate dropped slightly as the number of cases went up faster than the number of deaths.
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 in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.
Of the 48 deaths MSDH reported Tuesday, 32 occurred between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14 in the following counties:
|County||Deaths reported Tuesday|
An additional 16 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10 and were identified from death certificate reports.
|County||Deaths identified from death certificate reports|
New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. 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. 13, was 1,255. The number includes 1,188 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 67 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 303 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 186 were on ventilators.
MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 148,466 through Sunday, Dec. 13. It represents about 81% of the cumulative 183,300 cases reported as of Tuesday, Dec. 15.
The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Nov. 24, was 1,722, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,655, or about 75.7% of the 2,187 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Dec. 15. The county has an estimated 465 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. 12, is 1,550,198 or about 52.1% 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 21.8% Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 11.4%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.
The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 236 Tuesday, an increase of 18 since Monday. About 37.1%, or 1,577, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 8,453 Tuesday, about 4.6% of the state’s total cases.
A total of 31 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 Nov. 29.
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.