The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 489 new cases of COVID-19 today, one of the highest single-day counts since the crisis started in the state in March. Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill, who said that the Mississippi State Department of Health has not counted the 162 cases of COVID-19 in Lafayette County since June 1. Photo courtesy Robyn Tannehill
Mississippi saw 489 new cases of COVID-19 as of the end of Tuesday, June 16, one of the highest single-day official counts in the state since the crisis started in the state in March. The Tuesday spike in infections brings the seven-day rolling average to 308, in line with the highest averages in the crisis so far.
Reports from Wednesday are delayed due to technical issues, the Mississippi State Department of Health reports.
MSDH also reported that hospitalized patients with COVID-19 remain around the plateau between 450 and 500. More concerning are the emergency-department visits for diseases presenting as pneumonia, influenza and COVID-19: All three have shown the first uptick in percentage of total ER visits since the beginning of the crisis in late March.
As of this week, COVID-19 has officially killed more Mississippians than the flu season of 2018, during which influenza killed 910 Mississippians in total. In the three months since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, 938 Mississippians have lost their lives from the virus.
COVID-19 cases by date of onset show a steady, upward trend line, with the three most infectious days in the crisis coming in early June. Data beyond that point are still preliminary, reflective of the lag between infections, testing and confirmation of spread.
Mississippi may not be counting all its cases, the Oxford Eagle reported yesterday, quoting Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. She said the Mississippi State Department of Health has not counted the 162 cases of COVID-19 in Lafayette County since June 1 alone.
Tannehill’s understanding was that the State is counting home counties and states of infected individuals c, meaning many of them may not be included in the state and county totals where they are currently living.
MSDH’s data from May 31 show 139 cases of COVID-19 in Lafayette County, which includes Oxford and the University of Mississippi. The most recent update shows 209 total infections, an increase of 70 that is a far cry from the 162 new cases Tannehill says have emerged in June so far.
By press time, the Mississippi State Department of Health has not responded to a request for comment about Tannehill’s allegation.
Gov. Tate Reeves did not hold a typical COVID-19 press conference today, but sent out a statement this morning about his “concern” that the state was losing focus on efforts to contain the virus, which he also tweeted:
“Today we saw 489 new COVID-19 cases—a large number by any measure. I’m concerned that people are losing interest in the effort to keep each other safe. We are all tired and ready to be done, but the virus doesn’t care. Please be on your guard—small efforts have a big impact!” tweeted the governor.
Reeves started reopening state businesses and operations on April 27, with the end of his Shelter-in-Place order and the beginning of his Safer-at-Home order. That means the state is fully open with minimal social-distancing requirements and no mandate to wear masks in any setting.
Despite the rising numbers, MSDH data show that active long-term-care facility outbreaks appear to be declining. The current number of active outbreaks, meaning facilities with unrecovered COVID-19 patients, is 73, roughly a third of the state’s nursing homes and care facilities, down from 126 only weeks ago.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state reporter Nick Judin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @nickjudin.