Tupelo • Mississippi State Department of Health provided combined COVID-19 case numbers for five days Monday after being unable to provide daily updates from June 17-21.
MSDH has battled technical problems with the data reporting system, limiting what has been released to the public.
In an email to the Daily Journal, MSDH Communications Director Liz Sharlot said they are currently working with an old, outdated system and are seeking an emergency procurement for a new system. There is no date for when the new system will be in place. Sharlot said they have found some solutions to now be able to post.
State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs cited software dysfunction as causing issues and said MSDH has spent “all weekend revising alternative process” in a Twitter post.
MSDH reported 1,646 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, and 40 deaths over five days from June 17-21. The total number of cases is now 22,287 and 978 deaths. As of June 21, there are 17,242 presumed recovered cases.
Earlier in the day, MSDH reported 485 persons are currently in Mississippi hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 infection and an additional 225 now hospitalized with suspected COVID-19.
Prior to Monday’s collective update, daily numbers of cases and deaths were last provided by Dobbs during a Thursday COVID-19 press briefing, when MSDH announced 381 additional COVID-19 cases and five deaths as of June 17.
During the briefing, Dobbs addressed questions around cases being reported to the county of residence, even if it is an out of state residence. He noted this is a standard practice and said of total cases, 681 were out-of-state. Dobbs mentioned that MSDH has ways of tracking where tests are performed in addition to county of residence and will begin looking to share that information with college towns, which may have more out-of-state residents.
MSDH has recently identified a cluster of cases and outbreaks in Oxford, Dobbs said.
“We’ve spoken with the Mayor and physicians and clinicians and nurse practitioners in that community, and we do think that they’re at the front end or the mid sort of section of a significant outbreak,” Dobbs said.
Initial investigations show that 81 percent of the new cases in Oxford are between the ages of 18 and 24. Of those cases, 92 percent are in-state and 60 percent in Lafayette County, Dobbs said. He linked the cases to community transmission and social gathering, with many being linked to fraternity rush parties. Dobbs said early information suggests these gatherings violated the law of the executive order, which limits indoor gatherings to 20 people if they cannot socially distance or 50 if able to socially distance.
Additionally, Northeast Mississippi counties Lafayette, Chickasaw and Clay were listed among COVID-19 high case counties over a one week period from June 15-21. Lafayette saw 23 cases over that period, and Chickasaw and Clay saw 14 cases each during that period. The tables are updated weekly.