COVID-19: Week of August 11 – 17, 2020
- Mississippi had 4763 new COVID-19 cases and 183 new deaths this week, for a total of 72,412 cases and 2095 deaths since reporting began on March 11, 2020. New cases are increasing (up 7%) , but are continuing a slower rise for 3 weeks running (down for a 10.7% rise last week). This week, statewide deaths were up 9.6% (down from 11.7% last week. This marks two weeks of lower percentage rises in deaths.
- Misissippi’s rate of 704* deaths per million of population was a 9.6% increase over last week, compared to a 12% increase of the previous week. However, MS remains in the 8th most lethal position, including DC. Mississippi is only surpassed in deaths per million by LA, NY, NJ, MA, CT, RI, and DC. Deaths per million in MS exceed the national average of 524 by 180 deaths.
- Mississippi’s rate of 24,331* total COVID-19 cases per million is now the 4th highest in the nation behind only FL, AZ and LA. Having surpassed CA and NJ in cases per million in previous weeks, this week MS also surpassed NJ.
- Hospitalized Patients:
- After climbing steadily since early July, hospitalizations dipped a bit the week ending 8/3 and again the week ending 8/10. This week numbers have again dropped, from about 966 to 945 per week. This downward trend in statewide hospitalizations is in its third week.
- Patients requiring ICU care climbed for 6 previous weeks, but is down from 330 to an average of 310 patients daily this past week.
- Patients on ventilators also climbed for six weeks to an average of 189 daily, but also dropped a bit this week to 182 daily averge.
- STATEWIDE Long Term Care (LTC) facilities:
- As of 8-16, 174 LTC facilities statewide reporting active coronavirus outbreaks. This number has fluctuated daily for the past week between highs of 179 to a low of 173. Adding to the cloudy picture, the MSDH definition of “active outbreak”** has changed recently.
- Statewide, LTC facilities accounted for 7.2% of new cases (344 of 4763 cases). This is now trending up for the 3rd week.
- Total deaths’ percentage in LTC was down about 1% to about 4.3% ( 897 of 2095), continuing its downward trend as deaths have risen in the general population. However, LTC facilities accounted for 35.5% (65 of 2183) of all new deaths this week, a rise of nearly 5% from last week. This statistic continues to fluctuate, so not yet a definable trend statewide. Additionally, there have apparently been adjustments in figures by the MSDH. (see Northeast Mississippi LTC section.)
NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI (NEMS)
- As of 8-16, NEMS had at total of 1075 new cases, for a total of 9956 cases, an increase of 12.1 %, down from 16.7% and 21.4% on previous weeks. This is the third week of downward percentages, but NEMS continues to outstrip the statewide averages by more than 5%.
- There was some juggling of total death statistics for Northeast MS in this week’s MSDH figures. This resulted in apparent decreases in general population deaths in Itawamba and Lee counties of 1 and 3 deaths respectively.
- NEMS’s total deaths reached 252, having increased by 23 this week. There were net increases of 5 in general population and 18 in LTC facilities.
- NEMS Long Term Care (LTC) facilities:
- On 8/16, 11 NEMS counties had active outbreaks in residents in 28 LTC facilities. NEMiss.news cannot compare this to previous numbers as the MSDH has again changed their definition of “active outbreaks.”**
- NEMS LTC facilities had a total of 18 new deaths for a total of 127. This is up from 8 deaths last week and continues a fairly wild fluctuation in new deaths. It is difficult to know if all these deaths actually occurred this week, or were partially from earlier dates.
- LTC facilities accounted for 78% of new deaths (18 of 23). This is a very steep increase from 21% last week, but may result largely from adjustments from previous reports, as mentioned earlier.
- In NEMS, LTC facilities accounted for 4.7% (51 of 1075) of new cases, down from 8.2%. This statistic is currently fluctuating.
- Area counties listed with active outbreaks are:
- Lafayette with active outbreaks in 5 facilities
- Itawamba and Lee with 4 each.
- Marshall with 3 facilities
- Alcorn, Chickasaw, Monroe, Tishomingo and Union with 2 each
- Calhoun and Prentiss with 1 facility
- Benton, Clay, Pontotoc and Tippah with no current active outbreaks
- Benton and Tippah counties still have had no LTC facility deaths attributed to COVID-19. Tishomingo fell from this position with this week’s report of 5 deaths.
The Take-Away For This Week
Statewide, new coronavirus cases and deaths rates are continuing to slow, rising at slower rates. Many sources attribute this slow-down to the governor having finally mandated masks and social distancing statewide, largely in connection with the opening of schools.
In a press conference today, Governor Reeves discussed plans to combat problems that statewide school openings have produced. During the briefing State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that 71 counties have reported cases in schools. Currently, 245 teachers and 199 students have tested positive with the coronavirus, with 589 teachers and over 2000 students currently in quarantine statewide. (See link below).
Mississippi remains the 8th most lethal state (in deaths per million population), even with its dropping curve in cases and deaths. This is because many states in the northeast US had disastrous problems early on with coronavirus, but stringently mandated masks, distancing, etc. and have largely maintained their control. Mississippi’s cases per million are continuing to outstrip many other states, thus its rise from 5th to 4th in number of cases nationwide. These figures should begin to decrease, or at least stabilize, if Mississippi continues to cut the curve of COVID-19 spread and deaths.
While hospitalization rates are decreasing, the rates of ICU patients and of those on ventilators are lagging behind. This is possible influenced by the generally recognized fact that Mississippians are not well placed in any lists related to general health or lifestyle issues. A high percentage of Mississippians have one or more of the underlying conditions that make COVID-19 more dangerous for them.
Northeast Mississippi (NEMS) continues to have a significantly higher rate of increase in overall new cases than the state as a whole, about 12% compared to 7%.
The entire state is now mandated for wearing masks, along with rest of the state. See Executive Order 1516, which is currently in effect until the end of August.
School has started in many counties, others have delayed. Home schooling has seen a rise in families opting to teach their children at home. The governor has seven counties operating under a specific “hot spot” schools executive order (See Executive order 1517), but school boards in other counties are left to make the decision.
If you are vulnerable, continue to take care of yourself in any way you see fit. As always, if you are able, give assistance to someone who needs it.
Reeves press conference, August 17, 2020: https://www.wlox.com/2020/08/17/watch-gov-reeves-holds-coronavirus-press-conference/
*statistics from WorldOMeter as of day of posting
**Updated COVID-19 outbreak definition in LTCFs: To conform with revised national guidelines, an outbreak is now considered to be a single confirmed COVID-19 infection in an LTCF resident, or more than one COVID-19 infection in employees or staff in a 14-day period.
MS Executive Orders: https://www.sos.ms.gov/Education-Publications/Pages/Executive-Orders.aspx