COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb as Healthcare Infrastructure Suffers | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb as Healthcare Infrastructure Suffers

Mississippi continues to see increases in COVID-19 cases into January, while increased hospitalizations result in more stress on the state’s healthcare infrastructure. Photo credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Unsplash

Mississippi continues to see increases in COVID-19 cases into January, while increased hospitalizations result in more stress on the state’s healthcare infrastructure. Photo credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Unsplash

Mississippi continues to witness climbing COVID-19 numbers into the new year, with the Mississippi State Department of Health reporting another set of record-breaking case reports at 22,456 infections over this weekend alone. MSDH reported 17 fatalities alongside 302 long-term care facility outbreaks due to the highly infectious omicron variant. MSDH had previously reported 9,300 cases on Jan. 14.

“You can see over the past few weeks with the omicron wave we've had a phenomenal number of cases,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said on Jan. 13. “We have registered over 34,000 cases within a week.”

With the omicron variant being less deadly compared to previous strains, as well as a more vaccinated populace, fewer people have died due to COVID-19 complications in comparison to past surges. However, the skyrocketing rise in cases means that the healthcare infrastructure in Mississippi is facing more stress.

“Welcome back to the party nobody wants to attend,” Dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Dr. LouAnne Woodward said last week. “I wish I had some new answers for all of you. But the answers continue to be the same thing—to get vaccinated, to get a booster, to wear a mask. This new virus is very infectious.”

In his own update, Dobbs remarked on the stress incurred on the state’s healthcare system.

“Although it does cause a less severe illness, because of the remarkable number of cases we have we are seeing a massive increase in the number of new hospitalizations, putting increasing strain upon our healthcare system and overloading our intensive-care unit systems,” Dobbs said.

Dobbs noted that COVID-19 booster shots remain the best defense against the disease.

“We do know that vaccines are still our best bet,” Dobbs said. “If you look at being fully vaccinated versus boosted versus unvaccinated, you can see that the majority of deaths are still occurring in unvaccinated folks. And we know, especially for omicron, that you really need to be boosted. You need that third dose to get the added effect to get full protection so please, if you haven't had your booster yet, get your booster.”

Nation-wide Test-kit Website Goes Live

President Joe Biden’s initiative to send COVID-19 test kits to American families is now available for use, a day earlier than anticipated. Biden initially called for half a billion test kits for Americans, with his administration later purchasing another half billion for distribution.

“Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests,” the website states. “The tests are completely free.”

When ordered, the tests will take at least one week to ship.

Mississippi has seen 657,084 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, with at least 10,642 fatalities attributed to the disease.

Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].

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