Record case numbers reported by health officials

Mississippi reported its highest daily case numbers since the pandemic began on Wednesday, when the state health department (MSDH) said they had received 2,457 new positive cases

DeSoto County had 154 new coronavirus cases to report on Wednesday, double the new cases reported on Tuesday, but the county again had no new deaths to report.  There have now been 10,563 COVID-19 cases in DeSoto County since the pandemic started in March.

Wednesday’s report on cases from MSDH marked the first time that the daily figure was more than 2,000. The previous record was 1,921, which was reported on Nov. 21.  

State figures for the pandemic are now 156,868 cases and 3,851 deaths from coronavirus, again showing a rising trend.

As of Wednesday, the state’s seven-day average for cases is 1,410 cases a day. There were 29 additional deaths reported in Mississippi on Wednesday and a seven-day average of 15 per day.

Available hospital beds continued to be a concern, with 1,040 confirmed coronavirus patients in the hospital, 264 patients in an intensive care unit, and 138 patients on a ventilator.  Ninety-five hospital patients in the state have suspected coronavirus infections.

At the two DeSoto County hospitals, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven had six hospital beds available and were treating 50 COVID-19 patients in its 192 available beds. There were no intensive care unit beds available at Baptist-DeSoto. Eight ICU patients there were being treated for coronavirus.  

Methodist-Olive Branch Hospital reported two available hospital beds and 23 confirmed cases in its 42 total hospital beds.  Methodist-Olive Branch reported one ICU bed available and nine adult COVID-19 cases being treated in its intensive care unit.  

State health officials are now asking that all social gatherings “that include individuals outside the nuclear family or household.” The admonition included avoidance of social events or parties, family gatherings outside the immediate household, weddings, funerals (other than close family gatherings and preferably outdoors), sporting events, and in-person church services.

The latest orders also require that group gatherings be limited to 10 indoors, and 50 outdoors in situations where social distancing is not possible. Masks must be worn indoors in public places when a distance of six feet cannot be maintained between groups from different households.

Mississippi remains a state without a statewide mask mandate, but with new counties added Tuesday to the localized mask mandates by Gov. Tate Reeves, there are now 54 of the 82 counties in Mississippi that have mandates on wearing masks, including DeSoto County.  

In other coronavirus news, the Centers for Disease Control Wednesday shortened the recommended length of quarantine guidelines from 14 to 10 days, or seven days if the person receives a negative test result.  

The CDC also issued some holiday travel guidelines that recommended being tested twice if you must travel, but staying home for the holidays was the strongest recommendation about holiday travel. The guideline is the same as what the CDC issued regarding Thanksgiving holiday travel during the pandemic. The CDC recommended travelers get tested 1-3 days before their trips and again 3-5 days after their return.

The United Kingdom became the first country to authorize a coronavirus vaccine for use with its emergency approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The British regulatory agency approved the vaccine after it looked over results of trials that show the vaccine to be effective in 95 percent overall.  

FREE RAPID COVID TESTING AVAILABLE: If you are looking for a place to get free COVID-19 testing, there is free rapid drive-thru testing at the DeSoto County Health Department in Hernando. Testing is from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Rapid test results will be available within 20 minutes. You can make an appointment by calling 601-496-7200 or by going online https://covidschedule.umc.edu/ Address: DeSoto County Health Department – Hernando Office, 3212 Highway 51 South, Suite A.

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