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.

Confirmed Cases: 118587

Reported Deaths: 3310
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8050179
DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
Lafayette255043
Lauderdale2546135
Lamar231940
Oktibbeha204855
Bolivar203979
Neshoba1868111
Lowndes181962
Panola172040
Leflore170688
Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
Yazoo123434
Simpson123149
Grenada122939
Tate121039
Itawamba117226
Leake116342
Pearl River116360
Holmes115060
Adams109445
Prentiss109220
Alcorn104512
Wayne102722
George101719
Covington98829
Marion95943
Tippah94924
Newton87227
Hancock86828
Chickasaw86727
Tallahatchie85526
Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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