Desoto County NewsMississippi News

Medical officials urge school mask mandates

DeSoto County Friday added 143 coronavirus cases and no additional related deaths to its totals on Friday, according to the latest update from the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). 

That brings the county total for the pandemic to 23,839 cases and 286 related deaths.  

Statewide, there have been 358,149 cases and 2,761 related deaths from coronavirus.  

Availability of hospital beds as coronavirus cases, especially with the growth of the Delta variant, continues to be a concern. MSDH numbers on Friday had 85 available ICU beds in the state and 1,165 available hospital beds. The health department said 295 ICU patients were being treated for coronavirus and there were 1,154 patients in staffed confirmed with coronavirus.  

In DeSoto County, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven has no ICU beds available Thursday and reported two available hospital beds.  Sixty-two coronavirus patients were being treated at Baptist-DeSoto and there were eight COVID-19 patients in ICU. 

Methodist-Olive Branch Hospital reported no available hospital or ICU beds on Thursday to MSDH. Five of the nine ICU patients were being treated for COVID-19 in Olive Branch, and 27 of the 40 regular hospital beds were COVID-19 patients.  

Friday’s Mississippi coronavirus case totals grew by 2,094 and there were eight additional related deaths. MSDH typically will not update totals over the weekend.

The Friday report is found on the MSDH website.  

The Mississippi State Medical Association Friday became the latest organization to appeal to state school districts to institute a mask mandate, as reported by WJTV in Jackson.  

“The danger the Delta variant presents for students, teachers, and the broader community — especially schools serving students who are currently unable to be vaccinated — makes it imperative that every school district mandate masks to curb the spread of COVID-19,” MSMA said in a release.  “The Mississippi State Medical Association is calling on all school districts to institute mandatory mask policies for students, faculty, and staff immediately.”

Gov. Tate Reeves continues to oppose mandating mask usage statewide and many districts, including the DeSoto County School District, have been adamant about making mask usage a recommendation, but not a mandate.  

Thursday, the Mississippi State Supreme Court issued an emergency administrative order regarding court functions in the pandemic. The ruling states that courts remain in session and that individual justices have the power to control their own dockets, but are advised to use MSDH recommendations regarding social distancing, face masks, and limitations of numbers of people gathering in a courtroom.

In-person courtroom contact is to be limited as much as possible. Video-conferencing may be used in certain hearing situations and guidance was included on what can be done if technology is not readily available.

Individual judges also have the power to postpone jury trials scheduled through Friday, Sept. 10.

The complete executive administrative order is found here.

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