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Statewide autopsy delay

According to Prentiss County Coroner, autopsies in Mississippi are taking significantly longer to start following the resignation of several workers around the start of the month.

Posted: Jul 21, 2020 9:01 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2020 9:06 AM

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Mississippi is experiencing a delay in autopsies.

Prentiss County Coroner Greg Sparks said the delay is the result of several autopsy technicians in the State Crime Lab resigning around the start of the month.

He said right now, the office in Pearl has two doctors able to perform autopsies. The office in Biloxi remains closed for now.

“Lack of staff,” Sparks said.

He said normally it may take a few days at most to begin an autopsy, but now it can take up to two weeks. He said he feels for the families who have to deal with such a long wait. Right now, the Pearl office is able to conduct 3 autopsies a day.

Sparks added the resignations have put coroners’ offices in a bind, but he said he can’t blame the staff for why they left.

“I was told they found better jobs,” he said.

A doctor able to perform an autopsy is called a Forensic Pathologist. Sparks said right now, the office in Pearl has two pathologists.

He said the office in Pearl has had to do autopsies for the entire state due to Biloxi having no pathologists.

He said the Biloxi office recently hired a new pathologist, and the hope is it will soon be able to reopen and alleviate the work load placed on the Pearl location.

“They do have some people hired," Sparks said about the Biloxi office. “You can’t just hire somebody and they start back to work the next day, there’s a process to getting people in.”

Sparks said the delay in autopsies will take time to end. Once the offices get new technicians, they have to be trained up.

Sparks said the state has about 1,500 total autopsies per year. He said those are typically split between the two offices.

“They have assured me they’ve got people hired, they’re in the process of getting them in, so maybe in a couple of months, we’ll be back to the old ways.”

Sparks added that right now, doctors are going above and beyond by picking up an even greater workload.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 517138

Reported Deaths: 10306
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison35086559
DeSoto33512432
Hinds32826644
Jackson24938392
Rankin22621405
Lee16564245
Madison14986283
Jones14195248
Forrest13865260
Lauderdale12343323
Lowndes11401193
Lamar10715140
Pearl River9762244
Lafayette8898143
Hancock7854132
Washington7562169
Oktibbeha7246138
Monroe7106179
Pontotoc7071110
Warren6915179
Panola6815136
Neshoba6762210
Marshall6751142
Bolivar6484151
Union647099
Alcorn5969108
Pike5953157
Lincoln5550136
George511380
Prentiss511086
Tippah498483
Itawamba4916107
Scott479599
Tate4790118
Adams4789125
Leflore4765144
Copiah458995
Simpson4587117
Yazoo458692
Wayne444372
Covington435895
Sunflower4338106
Marion4313112
Coahoma4263111
Leake414491
Newton396482
Tishomingo390294
Grenada3799109
Stone366466
Attala342290
Jasper341667
Chickasaw320867
Winston319092
Clay314378
Clarke302095
Calhoun289550
Holmes273789
Smith271452
Yalobusha246547
Tallahatchie233153
Greene225549
Walthall222266
Lawrence221142
Perry214656
Amite210657
Webster207248
Noxubee188943
Montgomery182857
Carroll176341
Jefferson Davis175043
Tunica164139
Benton153539
Kemper145641
Choctaw138027
Claiborne134939
Humphreys132639
Franklin127130
Quitman107928
Wilkinson106539
Jefferson97334
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 849409

Reported Deaths: 16199
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1165042004
Mobile744951384
Madison53605739
Shelby38474373
Baldwin38236590
Tuscaloosa36225644
Montgomery34599784
Lee25712264
Calhoun22652520
Morgan22569411
Etowah20084521
Marshall18878318
Houston17806426
St. Clair16987359
Limestone16220222
Cullman16183306
Elmore15967295
Lauderdale15126308
Talladega14275302
DeKalb13099271
Walker12202380
Blount10803193
Autauga10566157
Jackson10237196
Coffee9447192
Colbert9396210
Dale9052192
Tallapoosa7291202
Russell711965
Chilton7101171
Covington6985197
Escambia6972146
Franklin6379108
Chambers5815142
Marion5451132
Dallas5307210
Pike5135109
Clarke485986
Lawrence4857130
Winston4804111
Geneva4658137
Bibb436795
Barbour370880
Butler3446101
Marengo342593
Monroe338666
Randolph338567
Pickens335590
Fayette332785
Henry321566
Cherokee321264
Hale320289
Crenshaw262278
Washington256952
Cleburne255460
Lamar253755
Clay253169
Macon246667
Conecuh193962
Coosa186248
Lowndes178468
Wilcox178338
Bullock152845
Perry141940
Sumter139841
Greene130845
Choctaw94928
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