COVID-19 Week of July 14 – July 20, 2020
- Mississippi had 7209 new COVID-19 cases and 108 new deaths this week, for a total of 43,889 cases and 1358 deaths since reporting began on March 11, 2020. These reports represent an increases of 19.7% in cases and 8.6% in deaths. This compares to 17.3% and 12.2% last week. The trend in new cases continues upward, but statewide deaths are down from the previous week.
- Misissippi’s rate of 456 deaths per million of population keeps it in the 12th most lethal position in the US, and MS deaths exceed the national average, 456 vs 434 average deaths per million.
- Hospitalized Patients:
- July 19 set a record for daily confirmed case hospitalizations with 909. Last week’s high on July 12 (758) was exceeded every day this past week. Mississippi hospitals averaged 863 hospitalized patients daily with COVID-19 during the week. This is a substantial 24% increase over last week’ average of 695. Hospitalizations now trending up steeply, with rising rates for six consecutive weeks.
- COVID-19 patients requiring ICU care averaged 258 patients daily, up 32% from last week’s 195. Trending continues upward for ICU admissions statewide
- Ventilators were required for a daily average of 132 patients, up from last week’s 105.
- STATEWIDE Long Term Care (LTC) facilities:
- As of 7-20, 140 LTC facilities statewide reported active coronavirus outbreaks, compared to 106 facilities for the week prior. After having been previously stable, trending of active outbreaks has been rising for three consecutive weeks.
- LTC facilities accounted for 2.2% of new cases (162 of 7209 cases). This is exactly half the percentage of last week.
- Total deaths’ percentage in LTC was stable at 48% (604 of 1250). New deaths’ percentage was down to 43.% (47 of 108).
NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI (NEMS)
- As of 7-20, NEMS had at total of 1070 new cases, for a total of 5007cases, a steep increase of 27.2%, compared to last week at 18.8% increase. The trend has been upward for 4 of the past 5 weeks.
- NEMS had a total of 13 new deaths, for a total of 157. This is two less deaths than last weeks, pausing 4 weeks of upward trends.
- NEMS Long Term Care (LTC) facilities:
- In NEMS 16 LTC facilities in 10 counties have active outbreaks of COVID-19, twice the number of facilities as last week. Counties with multiple facilities with coronavirus are Lafayette (4), Lee (3), Marshall (2). Alcorn, Clay, Pontotoc, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties have no active cases. The 7 remaining counties in northeast MS each have one active outbreak. Benton, Tippah and Tishomingo counties have had no LTC facility deaths attributed to COVID-19.
- In NEMS, LTC facilities accounted for 2% (21 of 1070) of new cases, but 61% of new deaths (8 of 13). Last week’s report saw a steep drop in the percent of new deaths in LTC facilities, but it jumped up steeply this week.
The Take-Away For This Week
Mississippi continues to be among the many states whose COVID-19 figures are rising. New cases in younger ages are still rising. Florida just had its fifth consecutive day of at least 10,000 cases per day, and has nearly 5100 deaths as of today.
Hospitalizations and ICU cases in Mississippi and nationwide are both rising steeply, an indication that the spike in new cases is not an innocuous statistical anomaly.
There is still a strong national debate not only on what is causing the increases, but whether the statistics are real, reliable or important in the long run. Politicians, led by the President, insist things are under control and/or should be allowed to run their course. Most public health officials and epidemiologists disagree. Dr. Thomas Dobbs, MS State Health Officer and most other health-care officials believe that precautions are clearly necessary to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and worsening the health care picture for Mississippians. A few states have paused or dialed back their “reopenings” in response to rising trends.
Mississippi’s deaths per million is above the national average and remains far higher than all its sister states, with the exception of Louisiana.
Northeast Mississippi (NEMS) continues to have a far higher rate of increase in overall new cases than the state as a whole, a 27.2% increase versus the state’s 19.7%. However, long term care (LTC) facility stats are about equivalent with overall state wide numbers. This points to a large percentage increase in the general population, and makes an argument in favor of using precautions such as masks and social distancing.
In Executive Order 1507 of July 10, the governor mandated masks for employees and customers in all businesses in 13 “hot spot” counties, none of which are in northeast Mississippi. That order was set to expire today, July 20, but has been extended to August 3rd, as has the Governor’s “safer at home” Executive Order 1492. Additionally, another 10 counties (none in northeast MS) have been added to the mandated mask orders of 1507.
MSDH is still lagging behind in receiving, tracking and reporting statistics, particularly as local clinics and hospitals are more and more busy. Additionally, the state currently has an insufficient number of contact tracers, according to Dr. Dobbs. Additional confusion resulting by the President’s decision to bypass the CDC for reporting purposes has also added to the general public health problem.
In a counterpoint to the Georgia governor suing Atlanta’s mayor for mandating masks, the rampant coronavirus cases in our MS legislature and the Oklahoma governor catching COVID-19 after flouting health officials’ warnings on “reopening,” Governor Reeves has been widely quoted on the subject of problems with “herd immunity.” He addressed the issue via Twitter. If you have not read this, it is worth a few minutes of your time. Tate Reeves on the problems with “herd immunity.”
Take care of yourself if you are vulnerable; if you are able, give a hand to someone who needs assistance.
To see details of Executive Orders: https://www.sos.ms.gov/Education-Publications/Pages/Executive-Orders.aspx