TUPELO • As Wednesday revealed the second highest single day number of COVID-19 cases, the Mississippi State Department of Health anticipates that the increase in cases will continue.
Wednesday saw 526 cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths in Mississippi. This comes one day after 611 cases were reported Tuesday, which is the highest reported number of single day cases.
State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said the numbers are “getting worse everyday” and cited generalized community transmission as causing rises across the state.
“It does seem that it’s related to increased social behavior, people engaging with one another in social venues, whether it’s going to be restaurants and that sort of thing,” Dobbs told the Daily Journal. “A lot of it is actually parties, get-togethers. We’ve seen a lot of cases linked to fraternity rush parties.”
More regionally, North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS) saw an increase of positive inpatients, reporting 49 positive inpatients as of June 24 after reporting 39 positive inpatients June 23 and 37 positive inpatients June 22. NMHS Chief Medical Officer Jeremy Blanchard said they are currently in the middle of a Memorial Day surge.
“Our surge from Memorial Day is not as big as it was initially, but it definitely is there and you can watch the rise from when people made the choice to not socially distance,” Blanchard said.
NMHS data for overall admissions and other sources show a downward trend in March, April and the beginning of May. Afterwards, there is a slow incline until 10 days from Memorial Day, when the numbers go straight up, Blanchard said.
Ten days to two weeks from Memorial Day, patients began coming in. NMHS monitors both the number of people with positive tests and the number of people who providers clinically feel are likely to have COVID-19 to determine resource consumption, Blanchard said.
Blanchard attributed the rise to people’s choices and said the recent rise did not personally surprise him due to COVID-19 being a contagious virus that can spread easily among asymptomatic people and those who congregate in large groups.
“I think our surge is totally dependent not on the time of the year, but is dependent on people’s choices to universally mask and to wash their hands appropriately and socially distance,” Blanchard said.
Aside from Benton, Itawamba and Tishomingo, Northeast Mississippi counties saw an increase in cases Wednesday. Benton reported one less case, and MSDH includes a note on their website that county case numbers and deaths may change as investigation finds new or additional information about residence. Additional counties and case counts, from most to least, include: Lafayette (20), Lee (15), Pontotoc (10), Union (7), Oktibbeha (5),Clay (4), Marshall (4), Monroe (4), Alcorn (3), Tippah (2), Calhoun (1), Chickasaw (1), and Prentiss (1).
Oktibbeha has the most collective cases in the region with 431, followed by Lee (403), Monroe (318), Lafayette (289), Clay (222), Chickasaw (203), Pontotoc (156), Marshall (148), Union (138), Itawamba (112), Tippah (109), Calhoun (100), Prentiss (81), Tishomingo (55), Alcorn (41), and Benton (22).