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: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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