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Over 100 COVID-19 deaths reported in Pearl River County since start of pandemic

Over 100 people in Pearl River County have died due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic nearly a year ago. At least one COVID-19 death has been reported in the county every week for the last 10 weeks.

As of Jan. 24, Pearl River County has had 3,508 COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Mississippi State Department of Health. Across the state, there have been 265,146 cases and 5,777 deaths. As of Jan. 16, Pearl River County had a 14.9 percent test positivity rate. In that week, MSDH reports 216 cases in Pearl River County via suspected community transmission.

Although the state of Mississippi saw a significant surge in COVID-19 cases during and after the holidays, there are signs the state is moving in the right direction, said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers during a press briefing Thursday.

The state is seeing improvements in the number of hospitalizations and improvement in the number of COVID related patients that had to be in the ICU or on a ventilator. Roughly 7 to 8 percent of COVID-19 cases typically require hospitalization, said Byers.

The state is also starting to see a flattening in the rapid rise in cases.

As of Jan. 24, Highland Community Hospital had 15 COVID-19 patients, three of which were in the ICU, with one available ICU bed, according to data from MSDH.

Cases are still having a significant impact on long term care facilities, making vaccination efforts vital, said Byers. As of Jan. 24, 199 long term care facilities in Mississippi had active outbreaks.

More than 35 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths have been in people 65 and older, making it important to prioritize their vaccination, said Byers.

Although the state’s COVID-19 cases are cautiously improving, MSDH still reported 927 new cases and five new deaths statewide on Jan. 24.

Byers says that the public should continue preventive measures like mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding group settings.