Mississippi has reached a record number of hospitalizations, with COVID-19 confirmed in 523 people and suspected in 244 patients, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said he's seen "widespread abandonment" of social distancing guidelines and Mississippi should prepare for the state's hospital system to be overwhelmed in the fall, the Jackson Free Press reported.
"It's just going to be bad," he said in an interview with the news outlet published on Tuesday. "Prepare for not being able to get into the hospital if you have a car wreck, (to) have a heart attack and there not be a ventilator to put you on."
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MSDH reported 526 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi Wednesday, for a total of 23,424 and 22 additional deaths, for a total of 1,011 deaths statewide. Twelve of the deaths occurred between May 30 and June 14 and were identified from death certificate reports, the health department said.
State health officials reported six new cases of COVID-19 in Lauderdale County Wednesday, for a total of 856 and one additional death, for a total of 78 deaths.
The county has the highest total of COVID-19 deaths in Mississippi and the sixth highest total of cases, behind Hinds (1646), Madison (1034), Desoto (990), Jones (965) and Neshoba (916), according to data.
More than half of those from Lauderdale County who died, 49, lived in long-term care facilities, records show.
MSDH reported 190 cases and 22 deaths in Clarke County, 169 cases and 13 deaths in Kemper County, 916 cases and 62 deaths in Neshoba County and 326 cases and eight deaths in Newton County.
"Prevention at this time is critical," MSDH said in a statement. "The State Health Officer urges all Mississippians aged 2 and older to wear a mask or face covering in public places."