As the total number of deaths in Mississippi related to COVID-19 surpassed 800 Friday, recently released state records show 73 of those who died were residents of nursing homes in East Mississippi.
Seven nursing homes in Lauderdale County have active outbreaks of the virus, and all but one of those facilities have reported numerous deaths of residents, according to health department records.
The Mississippi State Department of Health released detailed information about long-term care facility outbreaks late Wednesday night, following requests by several news organizations, including The Meridian Star. The data is provided through self-reporting from the facilities, according to MSDH.
The information will be updated weekly and does not include cases or deaths from prior outbreaks, according to the health department website.
Records show 14 residents at Diversicare of Meridian have died from COVID-19 and 25 employees and 46 residents have tested positive for the virus.
At The Oaks Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Meridian, 10 residents have died from COVID-19 and there are confirmed cases in 19 employees and 39 residents, according to data.
The Reginald P. White Nursing Facility, affiliated with East Mississippi State Hospital in Meridian, reported seven residents have died from COVID-19 and 21 employees and 24 residents have tested positive for the virus.
The James T. Champion Nursing Facility, also affiliated with EMSH, reported four residents have died from COVID-19 and it confirmed cases in 25 employees and 24 residents.
According to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, as of June 3, there were 15 active cases among residents and eight active cases among employees in both of the EMSH nursing homes.
There have been 22 recoveries of nursing home residents and 34 recoveries of nursing home employees at EMSH, the department said.
At Queen City Nursing Center in Meridian, five residents have died from COVID-19 and 23 employees and 21 residents have tested positive for the virus, records show.
Trend Healthcare and Rehabilitation of Meridian reported four residents have died from COVID-19 and 14 employees and 20 residents have tested positive for the virus.
Bedford Care Center of Marion reported three cases of COVID-19 in employees.
In Neshoba County, at the Choctaw Residential Center, records show 20 residents have died from COVID-19 and 30 employees and 66 residents have tested positive for the virus.
At the Neshoba County Nursing Home in Philadelphia, one resident has died from COVID-19, and one employee and one resident have tested positive for the virus, records show.
One resident of Hilltop Manor Health and Rehabilitation Center in Union has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the data.
In Kemper County at the Mississippi Care Center of DeKalb, records show eight residents have died from COVID-19 and 26 employees and 41 residents have tested positive for the virus.
Bedford Care Center of Newton reported three employees and one resident tested positive for COVID-19.
Records show that at Bedford Care Center of Hattiesburg, 25 residents have died from COVID-19 and 55 employees and 92 residents have tested positive for the virus.
Bedford Care Center released a statement in response to the list of outbreaks that said, in part, that it took "extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of our residents, well beyond the CDC's recommended guidelines."
The statement referred to the difficulty of stopping a virus in a densely populated facility where caregivers are in constant contact with residents, many of whom have been diagnosed with dementia.
"It is nearly impossible to ask a patient with dementia to wear a mask, wash their hands or keep a social distance from others," the statement said. "Our goal through the end of this is to unite and learn from the mistakes made early on as a nation so we aren't doomed to repeat them, which means paying more attention to the most vulnerable among us."
Diversicare declined comment for this report. Other Lauderdale County nursing homes that reported outbreaks did not respond to requests for comment.
MSDH reported six new cases of COVID-19 in Lauderdale County Friday, for a total of 765, and one additional death, for a total of 69 deaths.
Anderson Regional Medical Center reported that as of Friday it was hospitalizing 21 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Rush Foundation Hospital is not reporting daily COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Statewide, there were 394 people hospitalized with the virus, according to the latest update.
The health department reported 156 cases and 19 deaths in Clarke County, 156 cases and 11 deaths in Kemper County, 739 cases and 45 deaths in Neshoba County and 292 cases and four deaths in Newton County.
Statewide, health officials reported 209 new cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, for a total of 16,769 and nine additional deaths, for a total of 803 deaths statewide.
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