Press Sues MSDH for Nursing Home Names As COVID-19 Cases Top 11,000 | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Press Sues MSDH for Nursing Home Names As COVID-19 Cases Top 11,000

Mississippi saw 136 official new coronavirus cases and seven deaths as of 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, bringing the total number of statewide cases to 11,432 and deaths to 528, as many Mississippi businesses began reopening over the weekend. Photo courtesy MSDH

Mississippi saw 136 official new coronavirus cases and seven deaths as of 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, bringing the total number of statewide cases to 11,432 and deaths to 528, as many Mississippi businesses began reopening over the weekend. Photo courtesy MSDH

Mississippi saw 136 official new coronavirus cases and seven deaths as of 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, bringing the total number of statewide cases to 11,432 and deaths to 528, as many Mississippi businesses began reopening over the weekend.

Long-term-care facilities such as nursing homes, which are considered high-risk locations because their residents are older or in poor health, have reported 1,489 cases so far throughout the state. MSDH, so far, is refusing to release names of those nursing homes. The Pine Belt News in Hattiesburg filed a lawsuit against the State seeking identification of the facilities.

The Mississippi Press Association released a statement in support of the lawsuit.

"In the best of times, Mississippi citizens are entitled to adequate disclosure of information from the State Department of Health and other agencies that is in the interest of public welfare," MPA President Kevin Cooper, senior vice president of Boone Newspapers Inc., said in the statement. "And certainly in these times of a great public health crisis, MSDH should do more to release information the public deserves to know about where and how this disease has spread.”

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Hinds, Lauderdale and Madison counties currently have the largest number of cases reported with 773, 589 and 543, respectively. Lauderdale, Forrest and Pearl River counties have seen the most deaths at 46, 27 and 26, respectively. All three are counties with high numbers of cases and deaths in long-term-care facilities such as nursing homes.

Issaquena County in west-central Mississippi remains the only one of 82 statewide that is not reporting official cases to date, likely due to its miniscule population: the least of any county in Mississippi.

MSDH is reporting that 5,700 cases have been African Americans, 3,138 white and 125 other or unknown. Of the total deaths, 270 have been African Americans, and 223 have been white.

African Americans currently make up 52 percent of reported COVID-19 deaths, even though they comprise 38% of Mississippi’s population. African American women are the most heavily affected group in the state, accounting for 3,610 of the total cases. Black men account for the highest number of deaths, at 146.

The most heavily affected age group for reported cases remains people aged 40 to 69, with people aged 18 to 29 being the next most heavily affected group. People aged 70 to 79 continue to account for the largest number of deaths with an age group, currently numbering 150 out of the total cases.

Among those under 18, children aged 11 to 17 account for the highest number of cases at 228.

Roughly 17 percent of all investigated cases have resulted in hospitalizations. MSDH releases weekly estimates of how many infected people have recovered from the disease, which currently stands at 7,681.

The MSDH Public Health Laboratory has tested 19,049 individuals for COVID-19 as of May 17, and 2,228 tests returned positive results.

Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Read about announced closings and delays in Mississippi here. Read MEMA’s advice for a COVID-19 preparedness kit here.

Email information about closings and other vital related logistical details to [email protected].

Email state reporter Nick Judin, who is covering COVID-19 in Mississippi, at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @nickjudin. Seyma Bayram is covering the outbreak inside the capital city and in the criminal-justice system. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @seymabayram0.

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