The Mississippi State Department of Health on Thursday reported 264 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and seven new deaths, with one new case in Hancock County.

“The total of Mississippi’s cases since March 11 now stands at 3,624, with 129 deaths,” according to the report.

No new deaths were reported in Hancock County, where the total stood at five, as of Thursday morning.

Dr. Thomas Hobbs, state health officer, said Wednesday during Gov. Tate Reeves’ daily COVID-19 update that it is still too early to release numbers of those who have “recovered” from the virus. That information will be released when the data becomes available, he said.

MSDH reported five new cases in Harrison County on Thursday, bringing the total to 134 with five deaths. There were 10 new cases reported in Pearl River County, bringing the total to 112, still with eight deaths.

As of 6 p.m. on April 15, the MSDH Public Health Laboratory had tested 10,068 individuals with 1,127 tests returning positive results. The last data available on the number of tests conducted by other healthcare providers is from April 12, showing that at that point, they had tested 28,321 people.

As of April 15, approximately 28 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 had at one point been hospitalized.

"The MSDH Public Health Laboratory, its partners, and private providers are testing statewide for COVID-19," according to the agency. "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. 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."

There are now three COVID-19 testing sites open in Hancock County.

• Hancock Women’s Center, 1009 Benigno Lane, Bay St. Louis. Walk-ins are welcome, both male and female, with results in 36-14 hours. Open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. For more, please call 228-467-2555 or go to www.hancockwomenscenter.com.

• Memorial Drinkwater Internal Medicine Walk-In Clinic, 300 Drinkwater Drive, Bay St. Louis, Monday – Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sat & Sun 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

• Memorial Hancock Family Practice, 4433 Leisure Time Drive, Diamondhead, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. –5 p.m. and Sat & Sun 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Call (228) 867–5000 before visiting a clinic to allow the staff to determine the next steps and to prepare for your arrival.

MSDH has issued the following recommendations for healthcare workers, essential businesses, and the general public, including:

• Everyone should wear a cloth mask when away from home in places like grocery stores where a distance of at least six feet between persons can't easily be maintained. (Remember, surgical masks or other medical-grade masks should be reserved for healthcare workers only.)

• Essential businesses should make every effort to ensure proper hand hygiene, avoid crowding, and encourage social distancing.

• Healthcare workers should wear a face covering (either manufactured or appropriate cloth mask) throughout the workday in clinical care areas, even if they do not come into direct contact with patients.

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