Mississippi withholds some health prep stats about virus

Mississippi residents are unlikely to find out how much medical equipment is available in the state to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 2, 2020 4:34 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi residents are unlikely to find out how much medical equipment is available in the state to respond to the coronavirus pandemic because agencies are either choosing not to release information or are citing emergency provisions that delay responses to public records requests.

The Associated Press submitted a public records request to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency on March 25 seeking information about coronavirus testing kits or testing supplies and all medical supplies, including personal protection equipment, ordered by the state. State law says agencies usually have seven working days to respond to records requests. MEMA said Thursday that the timeline does not apply because the state emergency operations center has been activated.

The agency said all requests for public records “will be handled after the agency has returned to normal operation status.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health is not releasing information about how many ventilators are available in the state as the highly contagious spreads because utilization numbers can change quickly, the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said Wednesday.

“People would freak out if they were looking and seeing, oh, it’s gone up 10% or down 10%. So, it’s such a dynamic number that we don’t publish it,” Dobbs said during a news conference in response to a question about ventilators.

Dobbs said Mississippi has plenty of ventilators available now, but officials are concerned about the demand for them in coming weeks as more people are expected to test positive for the virus and seek medical care.

The state Health Department on Thursday updated Mississippi's confirmed coronavirus caseload to at least 1,177 people and 26 deaths.

Because testing remains limited as the outbreak grows, many people moving around their communities may not know they have contracted the virus until well after they've infected others. Most infected people experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, but a fraction of people suffering more severe illnesses can require respirators to survive, and as the caseload rapidly grows, hospitals are bracing for a wave of patients.

Gov. Tate Reeves announced Wednesday that he is ordering people statewide to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus. The order will take effect at 5 p.m. Friday and last until 8 a.m. April 20.

Reeves said his order is designed to prevent Mississippi's health care system from becoming overwhelmed, and he called it “the right tool at the right time to save lives.”

Reeves issued his order after consulting with officials at the state Health Department and the physician who leads the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. LouAnn Woodward. In an email to Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn on Wednesday, Woodward said that without a statewide stay-at-home order, “our health system will be overwhelmed.” Woodward wrote that projections show Mississippi will see its peak need for hospital beds in late April or early May.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307836

Reported Deaths: 7119
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Starkville
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Bits and pieces of low pressure over the next several days will give us some chances for showers and isolated thunderstorms. Albeit, severe thunderstorms will stay to the south and west of our area.
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