4,000 Mississippi Students Quarantined; Hospitalizations Break 2020 Summer Record | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

4,000 Mississippi Students Quarantined; Hospitalizations Break 2020 Summer Record

Newly released data from the Mississippi State Department of Health show that more than 4,000 students across the state have quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19 since returning to school last week. Photo courtesy Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Newly released data from the Mississippi State Department of Health show that more than 4,000 students across the state have quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19 since returning to school last week. Photo courtesy Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

With less than one-third of Mississippi schools reporting COVID-19 data, a new report from the Mississippi State Department of Health shows that nearly 1,000 students were infected with COVID-19 for the week of Aug. 2-6. As the fall semester began across Mississippi schools, an additional 4,435 students quarantined due to exposure.

The report shows 943 infections among students, while 296 school faculty have contracted the virus. MSDH reports 80 total outbreaks as of August 2021, meaning that only 11 reported outbreaks occurred prior to last week.

So far, reporting schools have totaled 69 outbreaks of the disease. But with only 296 schools currently reporting data, Mississippi may have higher numbers of infected and exposed students and faculty. Hinds County data was not available as of this morning’s report, but Jackson Public Schools are currently in session with mandatory traditional teaching in place.

COVID-19 continued its surge across the state this weekend, with hospitalizations from the disease already peaking above last year’s summer highs. July 2020 saw a peak of 989 hospitalizations, while this year Mississippi’s health-care facilities have already seen hospitalizations pass that peak at 1,035 as of Aug. 2, with no sign of slowing.

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The line in red shows confirmed COVID-19 infections in hospitalized patients. This year has already surpassed 2020’s summer peak in hospitalizations, straining the state’s health-care capacity. Photo courtesy MSDH

“The delta wave is just sweeping over us pretty aggressively,” State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said in an Aug. 6 press briefing for the Mississippi State Medical Association.

“We reported around 2,000 cases today, but that's an under-reporting,” Dobbs said on Aug. 6. “We're just getting flooded with so many reports, so you have to bring on extra staff.”

The weekend saw 6,912 new cases along with 28 deaths, while today’s report showed 3,488 cases and 36 additional deaths. Outbreaks among long-term care facilities continue to rise, with MSDH reporting 158 current outbreaks.

Infections remain concentrated among the unvaccinated, with 97% of COVID-19 hospitalizations occuring in those still without the vaccine. Gov. Tate Reeves urged Mississippians to get their vaccinations in an Aug. 9 statement via Twitter, echoing Dobbs’ repeated requests to get vaccinated.

“It was recently said nationally that the Delta variant was becoming a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’,” Reeves tweeted. “The most recent data from Mississippi suggest the same.Talk to your doctor. Assess the risk. Do the right thing for you. Do the right thing for your family.”

Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].

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