The Mississippi State Department of Health on Thursday announced that “approximately seven percent of Mississippi residents have now been tested for the disease, including 100 percent of all residents and staff of the 211 nursing homes in Mississippi.” 

“Nursing homes are considered high-risk locations because their residents are older or in poor health,” MSDH states. “Even one case of COVID-19 in these facilities among residents or employees is considered an outbreak.”

In the last two weeks of May, 13,911 residents and 17, 324 staff members were tested for COVID-19 during a 14-day period. The Mississippi Public Health Lab and the University of Mississippi Medical Center tested 26, 549 individuals and of those, 676 were positive for COVID-19. 

“We have been tracking outbreaks in nursing homes since we first saw a COVID case in Mississippi on March 11,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. “That has been a very vulnerable population that has shown to be more susceptible to severe illness and death from COVID.” 

Dobbs added that many of the nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID, presented “mild” symptoms as opposed to the more “severe” symptoms of fever or shortness of breath.

He said that the testing strategy a “herculean” effort by the MSDH and the Mississippi National Guard. 

“We’ve been very fortunate to work with some incredible partners through the overall COVID response, and this is an example of how much we can accomplish when we work together,” Dobbs said. 

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