Health officer: Mississippi seeing '4th wave' of COVID cases

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs

Mississippi's top public health official says the state is seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 9:12 AM
Updated: Jul 21, 2021 9:34 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's top public health official said Monday that the state is seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in July.

“4th wave is here,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, wrote on Twitter.

The Mississippi State Department of Health said 2,326 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Friday through Sunday. That is largest three-day increase of cases reported in the state since February.

As of Monday, the Health Department said Mississippi has had 329,130 confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. The department said 7,468 people in the state had died from the virus.

Democratic state Rep. Jeramey Anderson of Moss Point posted the Health Department numbers on Twitter, and wrote: "Consequences of not getting vaccinated and poor mask wearing. Well Mississippi — you wanted it here it is. This is ridiculous and the deaths that will definitely follow were completely avoidable."

Mississippi has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation, and the increase of cases is happening as schools prepare for the new academic year. Classes begin July 26 in the northern Mississippi city of Corinth and in early to mid-August in most other districts.

The state Board of Education on Thursday adopted policies requiring all school districts to restart in-person learning as the main form of instruction for 2021-22. During the previous year, districts had the option for in-person or online instruction, or a combination of the two.

The education board said districts offering online classes must ensure students receive at least 5-1/2 hours of instruction per day, students have reliable internet access and those participating in distance learning must go on campus to take statewide assessments.

Districts will be allowed to offer schoolwide or districtwide distance learning if needed because of the pandemic or other emergencies, under the new policies.

The state Health Department released its own guidelines Thursday saying all eligible teachers, staff and students 12 and older should receive COVID-19 vaccination; masks should be worn inside schools by all people are 2 or older who are not fully vaccinated; and schools should maintain at least 3 feet (1 meter) of distance between students in classrooms.

The state's largest school district, in DeSoto County, said in its back-to-school plan that maintaining distance between students will be challenging.

“School districts have a limited number of buses, limited square footage in classrooms, and many other efficiency-related obstacles,” the DeSoto plan said. “Social distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible, and strategies will be implemented by school officials based on the feasibility of the unique space at each school and in each classroom.”

The Health Department also said routine screening testing of asymptomatic unvaccinated students, teachers and staff is recommended. It said schools should continue to isolate students, teachers and staff who have COVID-19 and should continue to conduct contact tracing to identify people who should be quarantined.

Under the Health Department guidance, fully vaccinated students, teachers and staff do not have to wear a mask indoors, do not have to quarantine or be excluded from school if exposed to COVID-19 and do not have to be tested unless they show symptoms.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
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