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Mississippi COVID hospitalizations start to decline

The state of Mississippi is beginning to see declines in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Mississippi has had 6,056 COVID-19 deaths and 275,706 cases, as of Jan. 31. Of those cases, 222,812 people are presumed recovered from COVID-19, according to MSDH reporting.

In Mississippi, 74,290 Black people have tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in 2,097 deaths. Among white Mississippians, 104,075 have tested positive, resulting in 2,725 deaths. Black people make up approximately 37 percent of the state population, but account for 41.9 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

Pearl River County has had 3,717 cases since the start of the pandemic with 11 deaths. There have been 172 cases in long term care facilities in the county, resulting in 33 of the county’s total COVID deaths.

Although still in the “red,” the test positivity rate for Pearl River County has improved, declining to 11.2 percent, as of the most recent MSDH report for the week of Jan. 23. The previous report put the county’s test positivity rate at 14.9 percent.

For the week of Jan. 23, the county had 162 cases via suspected community transmission and five via a long term care facility outbreak.

According to the MSDH hospital bed availability tracking, as of Jan. 29 Highland Community Hospital had 15 COVID-19 patients, with three COVID patients in the ICU. There is one adult ICU bed available.

The state health department routinely sends rounds of samples to the CDC to test for COVID-19 variants, and have not identified any in Mississippi as of Jan. 29, said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers during a press briefing Friday.

Even though variants have not been identified, it does not mean there are no variant strains in Mississippi, he said.

In Pearl River County, there have been 2,827 COVID-19 vaccinations administered. Across the state, 243,890 doses have been administered, including 217,443 first doses and 26,447 second doses.