The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) on Thursday reported 1,948 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and 41 new deaths, including 36 new cases in Hancock County.

Two of the deaths occurred between Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, identified from death certificate reports. 

Hancock County’s total now stands at 2,469 with 57 COVID-19 related deaths. 

“Mississippi's total of COVID-19 cases since March 11 now stands at 245,847 with 5,356 deaths.” according to the agency’s statement on Thursday. “There are now 220 active outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (where an outbreak is one or more cases among residents or staff).”

As of January 12, the MSDH reports that 1,358 Mississippians are hospitalized with confirmed infection; 360 patients in ICU; 88 patients hospitalized with suspected infection; and 228 patients on ventilators. 

The State Health Officer urges Mississippians to avoid any non-essential contact with those outside your immediate household. You are safest at home, in small groups, and outdoors. Please wear a mask in public and keep a safe distance from others. These steps can bring COVID-19 cases down swiftly if they are followed. The latest COVID-19 guidance and protective steps to take are online at https://msdh.ms.gov/covid-19.

As of January 10, the MSDH estimates that 198,888 Mississippi residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 are presumed recovered.

Statewide combined testing as of January 10 : MSDH: 153,230; Other testing providers: 1,816,740.  

“Anyone with symptoms of fever, severe cough or severe chest pains – especially those who are older or in poor health – should make arrangements for testing with their doctor or one of the many healthcare providers now performing testing,” according to MSDH. “Healthcare providers can assess your health history and symptoms, and perform testing for COVID-19 as needed. MSDH is also helping conduct free drive-up testing sites in many parts of the state. Always call ahead to the testing provider for instructions on safely being examined before you visit for your test.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health had a vaccine distribution plan in place that has been significantly altered in the last few days – especially in the last 24 hours. Neither the county health department drive-through sites, nor the UMMC vaccine scheduling website was designed to accommodate the monumental surge we are currently experiencing. At this time, we have no additional vaccine, and every appointment is tied to an actual vaccination.  

 The Mississippi State Department of Health hopes to receive a large shipment of vaccine in mid-February that should help put additional shots in people’s arms.  We understand the frustration brought on by this sudden change of plans. We will certainly keep all Mississippians updated regarding additional vaccine. 

 Mississippians should understand that we can only vaccinate residents based on vaccine availability. We will open additional vaccination appointments as we receive more vaccine. 

Again, the timetable was incredibly altered to make vaccinating everyone eligible impossible. 

 In the meantime, all Mississippians – whether vaccinated or not – should continue to follow protective guidelines. Especially avoid any social gatherings. And always wear a mask. 

UMMC has provided a comment on its Facebook page regarding the Vaccine Scheduler. 

The latest COVID-19 guidance and protective steps to take are also online at http://HealthyMS.com/covid-19.

The Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline is the best way to get your questions about COVID-19 answered. Call 877-978-6453 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

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