JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi on Thursday had a record single-day increase in new coronavirus cases reported by the state Health Department, with numbers jumping by more than 1,200 from the day before.
It was the fourth time the state has had a day-to-day increase of more than 1,000 cases, and the first time the number had topped 1,200.
“COVID-19 continues to take a bigger slice of our hospital capacity,” the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said Thursday on Twitter.
Dobbs has said this week that several hospitals have no beds or very few beds available in their intensive care units. He and other health officials are imploring people to take precautions such as wearing masks in public, avoiding large crowds and keeping distance from others.
The head of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. LouAnn Woodward, posted Wednesday on Twitter: “No vacancy. Help us, Mississippi!”
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has set restrictions in 13 of the 82 counties, including a requirement for people to wear masks in public to try to slow the spread of the virus. Reeves said Wednesday and again Thursday that he might put restrictions on bars, but he didn't say when that might happen.
“It doesn't matter what county you're in — we recommend strongly that everyone wear a mask when they're in public and that everyone wear a mask anytime they're in 6 feet of anyone else,” Reeves said Thursday during an appearance on the Gulf Coast.
Mississippi has a population of about 3 million. The Health Department said Thursday that the state has had at least 39,797 confirmed cases and at least 1,308 deaths from the coronavirus as of Wednesday evening. That was an increase of 1,230 cases and 18 deaths from numbers reported the day before.
The department said Thursday that 1,117 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus. That is up from 664 on June 22.
At least 3,109 cases of the virus have been confirmed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, with at least 634 virus-related deaths in those facilities, the department said.
The true number of virus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick. While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.