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: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848137

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164052005
Mobile743681384
Madison53497738
Shelby38435371
Baldwin38195589
Tuscaloosa36152644
Montgomery34562782
Lee25655264
Calhoun22630520
Morgan22530411
Etowah20069520
Marshall18846318
Houston17777426
St. Clair16958359
Limestone16195220
Cullman16157306
Elmore15940295
Lauderdale15069307
Talladega14260302
DeKalb13083271
Walker12168380
Blount10779193
Autauga10560157
Jackson10214196
Coffee9435192
Colbert9366210
Dale9044192
Tallapoosa7285202
Russell710065
Chilton7090170
Covington6969197
Escambia6967144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5801142
Marion5437132
Dallas5302210
Pike5129109
Clarke485786
Lawrence4850130
Winston4793110
Geneva4655136
Bibb435795
Barbour370680
Butler3444101
Marengo342993
Monroe338366
Randolph337867
Pickens334890
Fayette331785
Henry321166
Cherokee320364
Hale319189
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252969
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130545
Choctaw94428
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