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Mississippi health official 'exhausted' by virus response

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs

Mississippi’s top health official says he is exhausted trying to convince people in the state to take the coronavirus seriously.

Posted: Nov 24, 2020 4:11 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's top health official said he is exhausted trying to convince people in the state to take the coronavirus seriously and follow public health guidelines.

“I'll just to confess to you guys, I'm exhausted trying to convince folks to do stuff. It’s just going nowhere," Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi's state health officer, said Monday during a meeting with members of the Mississippi Senate.

Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 144,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,729 deaths from COVID-19. Hospitalizations are rising, with 946 people hospitalized in Mississippi with coronavirus Monday, compared with 560 on Nov. 4, according to the state Department of Health.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor and dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Medicine, has called on the governor to reinstitute a statewide mask mandate to prevent further spread of the virus. Woodward said last week that no intensive care unit beds were available at the hospital, Mississippi’s only level-one trauma center.

“I think we have reasonable evidence to believe that the county-by-county approach is not working,” she said during a Monday news briefing. Gov. Tate Reeves has instituted a mask mandate in 22 of Mississippi's 82 counties with the highest number of new cases of coronavirus.

Reeves is expected to hold a briefing to update the public on the state's coronavirus prevention efforts Tuesday afternoon.

As state health officer, Dobbs has been running the state's effort to track the virus, put preventative measures in place and test residents.

He has also been the face of the state's coronavirus response, speaking at many of Reeves' televised coronavirus press briefings and online forums with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the state Department of Health and the Mississippi State Medical Association. Throughout the pandemic, he has repeated the same message: masking, social distancing and avoiding large social gatherings will prevent the spread of the virus.

Speaking to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Monday, he said there is no “collective will" among the public to prevent the virus.

He said church and school outbreaks are rising throughout the state. Schools, in particular, have become a major problem — in general, schools have been unwilling to cut back on extracurriculars and social activities, Dobbs said.

“We have chosen, very clearly, to prioritize social events over disease transmission,” he said. “Part of that’s because we are tired of it and there has been some effort to minimize the severity of the illness.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health on Tuesday reported 665 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and new 53 deaths. Thirty-one deaths occurred between Nov. 13 and Nov. 23 and were identified later using death certificates.

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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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