Virus Outbreak Mississippi

Mississippi's State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs speaks about the need for state residents who are 65 and older and those with preexisting conditions need to receive the coronavirus vaccine during Gov. Tate Reeves' press conference in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Lauderdale County is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases amid a surge of the Delta variant in Mississippi.

Lauderdale County’s seven-day rolling average of new cases is 24. A week ago, on July 14, the county’s seven-day rolling average was 5.4.

At a Tuesday press conference, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Mississippi primarily saw the Alpha variant of COVID-19 in May and June. But now, the Delta variant, which was first seen in India, is the primary variant in the state.

“Going into the summer, the Delta variant has really taken over all of the transmission within the state of Mississippi,” Dobbs said.

He said several factors have led to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Mississippi. One is the fact that the Delta variant is more contagious than the Alpha variant. Another factor is the increase in social activities in the summer, including Fourth of July activities. The state also has a low vaccination rate, and many Mississippians, especially young people, are not immune from COVID-19, Dobbs said.

“It really is kind of a perfect storm for an explosion in cases,” he said.

Dobbs said 93% of the state’s COVID-19 cases over the last month have been from individuals who are not vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccines are nearly as effective against the Delta variant as they are against the original strain of COVID-19, according to Mississippi Today.

“If you’re not vaccinated, certainly we want you to get vaccinated,” Dobbs said.

He noted, though, that it takes a while for a person to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, so he recommended that Mississippians also “take common sense steps over the next couple of weeks to reduce the transmission of COVID.” He said people should do social activities outdoors instead of indoors. He also recommends that individuals who are over 65 years old or who have chronic medical conditions do not attend mass indoor social gatherings.

Confirmed Delta variant cases in Mississippi

Below are the total numbers of Delta variant cases that have been reported in each local county since MSDH started tracking the variant cases.

Lauderdale: 0

Clarke: 1

Neshoba: 5

Newton: 2

Kemper: 0

Even though Lauderdale County has zero confirmed cases of the Delta variant, the true number of Delta variant cases in the county is likely higher. According to Mississippi Today, the variant cases reported by MSDH represent only a small surveillance sample.

Hospitalizations

Mississippi is seeing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Dr. Fred Duggan, chief medical officer of Rush Health Systems, said in a statement that the number of patients admitted to Rush due to COVID-19 has increased.

“We had been averaging one or two patients in the hospital due to COVID, and over the last four to five days, we have seen a significant increase in admissions,” Duggan said.

On Tuesday, Rush had seven adult COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, according to MSDH.

“As variants of COVID-19 continue to emerge in our communities, it has never been more important for people to get vaccinated, not only to stop the spread of current strains, but to also help prevent more mutations and new strains from developing,” Duggan said. “The serious risk of COVID-19, even for young, healthy people, outweighs the risks of any possible serious side effects from the vaccine.”

On Tuesday, Anderson Regional Medical Center had 12 adult COVID-19 patients in the ICU, according to MSDH. 

Average case numbers in nearby counties

On Wednesday, the seven-day rolling average of new cases for each nearby county was as follows.

Neshoba County: 5.9 cases

Newton County: 5.1 cases

Kemper County: 3.6 cases

Clarke County: 2.4 cases

Local vaccinations rates

The COVID-19 vaccination rates for local counties, as reported by MSDH on Tuesday, are below.

Lauderdale County: 34% fully vaccinated

Neshoba County: 21% fully vaccinated

Newton County: 33% fully vaccinated

Clarke County: 33% fully vaccinated

Kemper County: 29% fully vaccinated

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