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COVID numbers climbing once again, 7 local schools affected

Coronavirus case rates in Mississippi begin to climb back up as residents prepare for the state fair and presidential election.

Because of the possible effects of Hurricane Delta, the newest COVID-19 case numbers were not available at press time.

On Thursday, the Mississippi Department of Health released its latest COVID-19 statistics. There were 578 new cases and 23 new deaths. These deaths took place in the following counties: Copiah, Forrest, George, Harrison, Humphreys, Jackson, Monroe, Neshoba, Prentiss, Tunica, Wilkinson and Winston.

There were 10 COVID-19 related deaths found between Aug. 29 and Sept. 29. These deaths took place in the following counties: Coahoma, Desoto, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Madison, Panola, Quitman, Rankin and Warren.

There were 125 current long-term care facility outbreaks statewide. An outbreak is when a single confirmed COVID-19 infection is found in an LTC facility resident or more than one infection is found in employees or staff in a 14-day period.

 

Lincoln County

In Lincoln County, there were 26 new cases, putting the total at 1,182 There were 53 deaths. The area had 142 LTC outbreaks and LTC 32 deaths.

As of Oct. 2, there have been 10 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in students at Loyd Star Attendance Center.

The following schools had 1-5 positive cases among students listed in order to protect personal identities: Alexander Junior High School, Bogue Chitto Attendance Center, Brookhaven High School, Enterprise Attendance Center and West Lincoln Attendance Center.

There have been six confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in teachers and faculty at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center.

The following schools had 1-5 positive cases among faculty and staff listed in order to protect personal identities: Brookhaven High School, Enterprise Attendance Center, Mamie Martin Elementary and West Lincoln Attendance Center.

There have been four outbreaks total, with three at AJH and one at Bogue Chitto. This data includes all public schools inside and outside of Brookhaven city limits.

Hospitalizations are staying stable with 457 patients being treated for COVID-19 across the state. Out of that total, 127 are in intensive care and 62 are on ventilators.

Mississippi’s total number of cases currently sits at 102,241 with 3,051 deaths. MSDH presumes that 90,577 cases are recovered.

Nearly one million tests have been conducted in the Magnolia State for the coronavirus, with 904,005 tests total. Out of that total, 796,968 have been conducted for positive detection of the virus, 40,048 for antibodies and 66,989 for antigens.

Local testing is still available at King’s Daughters Medical Center. The COVID screening site is located behind the Emergency Room and will be open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Traffic for this site should enter from Brookman Drive behind the hospital. This screening is for individuals 12 years of age and up. Call 601-835-9455 to make an appointment.

 

‘Absolute insanity’

While the mask mandate has been lifted, MSDH still encourages residents to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19. Despite major events such as the Mississippi State Fair and the upcoming Presidential election going on, there have been no new mask mandates made for the magnolia state.

“This is absolute insanity,” said Dr. Claude Earl Fox III, a Mississippi native and former head of public health in Alabama. “What’s to be gained by a no-mask requirement on Election Day?”

According to Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson, masks can’t be mandated at the polls because it’s a federal election.

As for the Mississippi State Fair, there will be masks available at the entrances. But masks won’t be required to enter.

“If you’ve ever been to the Mississippi State Fair, you already know: social distancing is practically impossible,” said Zeke Morgan, a student at the University of Southern Mississippi who grew up in Jackson attending the fair. “This will be a super-spreader event and that’s something that Mississippi can’t handle.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.