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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: 333180

Reported Deaths: 7502
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22901279
Hinds22780438
Harrison19569326
Rankin14851287
Jackson14342251
Madison10692227
Lee10437179
Jones8746169
Forrest8210157
Lauderdale7561243
Lowndes6790150
Lamar669688
Lafayette6459124
Washington5516139
Pearl River4915149
Bolivar4909134
Oktibbeha478498
Panola4723112
Marshall4654106
Warren4640127
Pontotoc440473
Monroe4255137
Union425379
Neshoba4182180
Lincoln4098115
Hancock405088
Leflore3565125
Pike3530112
Tate349588
Alcorn343974
Sunflower343093
Adams333387
Scott331775
Yazoo331173
Simpson314890
Copiah313867
Itawamba310180
Coahoma308785
Tippah298868
Prentiss292963
Covington282483
Marion279580
Leake278475
Wayne270743
Grenada266388
George261651
Newton256664
Tishomingo236869
Winston235584
Jasper226148
Attala220873
Chickasaw216360
Stone210237
Holmes195674
Clay192254
Clarke182080
Tallahatchie181742
Calhoun177532
Smith175935
Yalobusha169440
Walthall141548
Lawrence137726
Greene135734
Amite132843
Noxubee131635
Perry131038
Montgomery130944
Carroll124531
Webster117532
Jefferson Davis113334
Tunica111127
Benton104625
Claiborne104331
Kemper100729
Humphreys99133
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw81319
Wilkinson74632
Jefferson69728
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 570667

Reported Deaths: 11483
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson834821584
Mobile45819855
Madison36785532
Tuscaloosa26757465
Shelby26612255
Montgomery25739624
Baldwin23810325
Lee16801181
Calhoun15130332
Morgan14941289
Etowah14662368
Marshall12806235
Houston11515292
Elmore10654217
St. Clair10521251
Limestone10472158
Cullman10257204
Lauderdale9991253
DeKalb9298191
Talladega8739187
Walker7594286
Autauga7419113
Jackson7269117
Blount7184139
Colbert6583142
Coffee6045131
Dale5326117
Russell465842
Chilton4645117
Covington4579125
Franklin444381
Tallapoosa4379157
Escambia420082
Chambers3852125
Dallas3688163
Clarke364462
Marion3380106
Pike324879
Lawrence3192101
Winston291072
Bibb280165
Geneva271583
Marengo258567
Barbour243461
Pickens239162
Butler236172
Hale231878
Fayette224564
Henry205145
Randolph194944
Cherokee193948
Monroe192141
Washington177139
Macon167552
Crenshaw164458
Clay162559
Cleburne159145
Lamar149538
Lowndes144354
Wilcox129231
Bullock125642
Conecuh118130
Coosa116029
Perry109928
Sumter108032
Greene97836
Choctaw63825
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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Tuesday more very hot and humid conditions will be the rule across our area. Some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible at times. A few heavy and hefty thunderstorms cannot be ruled out of the question at times.
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