“Record COVID admissions AND the hospitals are already full. Thank a healthcare hero this Christmas! Stay safe - remember that most people who spread COVID don't know they have it. We catch COVID from the people we love,” said State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs in a Christmas tweet. Photo courtesy UMMC Communications
Yesterday, Mississippi saw a record single-day total in reported deaths from COVID-19. As the year wanes, record numbers of people continue to die from the virus as the state struggles with a persistently high rate of viral spread.
The latest report from the Mississippi State Department of Health shows 85 new deaths due to COVID-19. Of those, 81 are from Dec. 15-28, with the remaining four coming from investigations of earlier deaths.
The report marks a new record before the end of the year, a consequence of the growing hospitalizations seen throughout December. MSDH’s update also shows 1,943 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday. The most significant spike of the pandemic so far continues this winter as the state’s healthcare system struggles to keep up.
“The state’s COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to outpace our healthcare resources - reaching record numbers! Do your part to stop these numbers from skyrocketing into the New Year.” State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs tweeted on Dec. 28. “Please...small groups only (outdoors if at all),” he added.
The majority of state long-term care facilities have been plagued by outbreaks for the entirety of the last two weeks, with today’s MSDH report showing 244 LTC outbreaks. Better news may lie ahead however, as CVS began vaccinating residents and staff yesterday at 211 LTC facilities around the state. The administration of Pfizer’s vaccine will take place in rounds, with all booster shots slated to be completed over the course of the next 12 weeks.
MSDH reported 32 new school outbreaks over the week of Dec. 14-18, resulting in 465 cases among faculty and 761 students. The outbreaks also resulted in 927 faculty members and 9,601 students being quarantined. MSDH notes that school reporting has been impacted due to the holiday break. The report marks a total of 4,385 infections among school staff and teachers, and 7,212 among students since they started recording numbers in the spring.
To date, Mississippi has seen 210,032 reported cases of COVID-19 and 4,719 Mississippians have died from the virus. Beyond these raw numbers, COVID-19 has impacted everyone around the state. State health leaders have called for distancing and isolation during the holidays, which even in a normal year can be a stressful time.
For those struggling or feeling depressed over the holidays, Dobbs tweeted a reminder about the Mississippi Department of Mental Health [LINK: https://behindthemaskms.com/ ]. “If you need help with your mental health through the holidays - don't forget the resources available through the MS Dept of Mental Health,” Dobbs tweeted this morning.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email contributing reporter Julian Mills at [email protected]