The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) on Thursday reported 2,261 new cases of COVID-19 in the state — including 60 new cases in Hancock County — and 26 deaths.

All of those deaths occurred between Nov. 24 and Dec. 16, and were identified from death certificate reports.

“Mississippi's total of COVID-19 cases for the year now stands at 187,904, with 4,320 deaths,” according to the agency’s statement Thursday. “Among cases and deaths already reported, MSDH has identified 137 new cases in residents of long-term care facilities, and 12 deaths. There are currently 236 ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Hobbs has issued an advisory on social gatherings: “Due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases, all residents of Mississippi should avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the immediate family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school or other absolutely essential activities, and avoid gatherings such as social events, sporting events, in-person church services, and weddings and funerals unless they involve only close family (preferably outdoors).”

As of Thursday morning, Hancock County had a total of 1,624 cases of coronavirus with 49 deaths, including 68 cases and 13 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Also as of Thursday, Harrison County had 9,181 cases — up 191 from the day before — with 130 deaths, including 428 cases and 47 deaths in long-term care.

Pearl River County had 2,139 total cases up from 2,083 on Wednesday —with 75 deaths, including 143 cases and 27 deaths in long-term care.

As of Dec. 13, the MSDH estimates that 148,466 Mississippi residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 are presumed recovered.

As of Dec. 15, 1,260 Mississippians were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 infections, including 321 patients in an ICU and 193 patients on ventilators. There were also 76 patients hospitalized with suspected COVID infections.

“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.”

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