Published 4:21 pm Thursday, August 19, 2021
The Mississippi State Department of Health held a press briefing Thursday to discuss COVID-19’s impact on the population.
Dr. Thomas Dobbs, health officer with the Mississippi State Department of Health said, “We are at the worst part of the pandemic that we’ve seen and it’s continuing to worsen.” According to Dobbs, for the past few months Mississippi has reported that 98 percent of the positive cases are occurring in the unvaccinated. That number is being overwhelmed by teenagers and young adults. According to MSDH, 89 percent of hospitalizations and 83 percent of COVID deaths occur in those who are unvaccinated. MSDH is seeing much fewer cases from vaccinated people, who also have a higher survival rate.
Over 71,000 vaccinations were given out last week in Mississippi.
Dobbs advises people who test positive for COVID to ask their medical providers about monoclonal antibody infusion. The treatment can reduce hospitalization rates by 80 percent, reduce risk of death and the antibody infusion is widely available. Mississippi has issued a statewide order that anyone who is diagnosed with COVID can directly seek monoclonal antibody infusion if they meet the criteria. That will limit pharmacy visits and allow residents with out insurance to still be treated.
“They are immediately beneficial,” said Dobbs.
Hospitals are seeing an increasing number of cases in patients under the age of 50. According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, as of Wednesday hospitals reported 1,633 positive patients. It’s a big contrast compared to Mississippi’s previous peak in Jan. 2021, when 1,444 hospitalizations were reported.
Cases in young people are growing, according to Byers; Mississippi school districts have recorded 20,334 students who are under quarantine and 4,521 positive cases since Aug. 9. At least 29 school districts have reported to MSDH that they will be moving to online learning temporarily. According to Byers, 29 districts will participate in a testing program that will provide schools with COVID test kits or send vendors for onsite testing. Over 72 schools are participating in “adopt a school” program that provides onsite testing and vaccines to eligible individuals.
There has been an increase in requests by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for ventilators across the state, resulting in 150-additional ventilators being requested. According to MSDH Senior Deputy Dr. Jim Craig, Tuesday at about noon 100 ventilators was received by hospitals and the remaining 50 were estimated to arrive before the end of day Wednesday.