The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) on Wednesday reported 961 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and eight new deaths.

Eight new cases were reported in Hancock County. Hancock County’s total now stands at 4,016 with 88 COVID-19-related deaths.

Seven deaths reported Wednesday occurred between July 13 and July 20 and one death occurred on Feb. 22, identified from death certificate reports.

“Mississippi's total of COVID-19 cases since March 11, 2020 now stands at 330,664 with 7,485 deaths.” according to the agency’s statement on Wednesday. “There are now 57 active outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (where an outbreak is one or more cases among residents or staff).”

As of July 20, the MSDH reports that 445 Mississippians are hospitalized with confirmed infection; 154 patients in ICU; 50 patients hospitalized with suspected infection; and 62 patients on ventilators.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday that Mississippi is now seeing its “fourth wave” of COVID cases.

“The rapid rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations from the delta variant is hitting younger adults — under 50 years old — the hardest,” according to the agency’s statement on Wednesday. “It’s our largest unvaccinated group. Please take steps right away to get protected. This is the delta variant at work. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Mississippi are almost four times higher than just three weeks ago. Please take this renewed outbreak seriously. Make sure you’re vaccinated, and if you’re over 65 or have a chronic medical condition, avoid crowded indoor places (even if you’re vaccinated).

The latest COVID-19 guidance, protective steps to take, and vaccination information are online at https://msdh.ms.gov/covid-19. COVID-19 vaccinations are free in the state. Check for local providers at www.vaccines.gov/search.

As of last Thursday, only about 11,899 Hancock residents — about 25 percent of the population — had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Only 10,636 Hancock residents — about 22 percent of the population — had been fully vaccinated.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation is offering help with transportation to vaccination sites. Call the toll free line at 1-866-813-3616.

Local pediatricians also recommend that parents have their children vaccinated before the 2021-2022 school year begins in August.

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for children as young as 12, while the Modern vaccine is for those 16 and up and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is approved only for those 18 and up.

This week, the Hancock County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with the MSDH to offer a free COVID-19 vaccination site at the Kiln storm shelter, but state officials have yet to set a start date.

As of July 19, the MSDH estimates that 315,209 Mississippi residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 are presumed recovered.

“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. Always call ahead to the testing provider for instructions on safely being examined before you visit for your test.”

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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