COVID update, Omicron variant a concern

The Mississippi State Health Department Monday released its updated numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths related to the virus in the state, dating back to Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28.  

There were only two new death reports that came out in Mississippi during the long holiday weekend and none of the reports came from DeSoto County.  

Since school was out all week for the Thanksgiving holiday, there was no weekly update Monday on cases from the DeSoto County School District. It is expected the weekly updates will return next Monday.  

MSDH announced on Monday that eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots has been expanded to all adults 18 and over, and appointments for boosters can now be made at all county health department clinics for those who qualify.

Appointments can be made through https://covidvaccine.umc.edu or by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 877-978-6453.

The state health department said booster shots help maintain immunity, which may decrease over time.

A booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is available if you are at least 18 years old, fully vaccinated with two shots of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and It’s been at least six months since your last shot of either vaccine.

A booster shot is also available if you are fully vaccinated with one shot of Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, and it’s been at least two months since your last shot.

The date of your last shot will be verified when you arrive to receive your booster shot. COVID-19 vaccines are available at numerous other providers statewide, including pharmacies and clinics. Go to https://www.vaccines.gov/search/ to find locations where you can receive first and second COVID-19 shots as well as additional COVID-19 shots for weakened immune systems and boosters.

MSDH also has first and second shots of COVID-19 vaccine available at county health departments. Bring your COVID-19 vaccine card to your appointment, if available, if you have received prior shots of COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s a good idea to check with your doctor, a pharmacy, or another vaccination provider about getting a COVID-19 booster dose. 

MSDH issued a reminder about a surge in cases that happened in December of last year with the urging that vaccinations can help prevent that from happening again.

Meanwhile, much of the world is now worried about the new omicron variant that is emanating from South African. According to the World Health Organization, the new omicron variant of coronavirus poses a very high risk. The new version was verified by South African researchers last week.  

As a result, new travel restrictions have been implemented in a number of countries. Japan and Israel, for instance, have banned all foreign visitors. Morocco is banning incoming flights and other countries, including the United States, are barring incoming flights from southern African countries.  

Officials are continuing to urge vaccinations and precautions be taken. As of Monday afternoon, there had been no incidences of the omicron variant in the United States, however reports from as close as Canada have health officials concerned.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is recommended people follow prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, washing your hands frequently, and physically distancing yourself from others. CDC also recommends that everyone five years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting  fully vaccinated. CDC encourages a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those who are eligible.

Travelers to the U.S. should continue to follow CDC recommendations for traveling.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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