The Hancock County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved an agreement with the Mississippi State Department of Health to offer a free COVID-19 vaccination site at the Kiln storm shelter, but state officials have not yet set a start date.

“The supervisors approved it today,” Hancock County Emergency Management Agency Director Brian “Hooty” Adam said Monday. “However, we’re still waiting on confirmation from the state health department as to when they will actually start. … We do have a signed agreement.

The supervisors approved the site on the same day MSDH announce that the state had seen the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since January and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs announced Mississippi is now seeing its “fourth wave” of COVID cases.

“Very sad indeed,” Dobbs said in a statement. “Didn’t have to be this way.”

On Monday morning, MSDH reported 2,326 new cases of the virus had been reported statewide over the weekend with three new deaths.

Dobbs said that 93 percent of the deaths and 94 percent of the cases were among Mississippi residents who have not been vaccinated.

As of Monday, a total of 3,999 cases had been reported in Hancock County since the pandemic began — 36 just over the past weekend — with 88 deaths. Sixty-nine of those cases and 14 of the deaths occurred in long-term care facilities.

Harrison County had a total of 19,221 cases with 322 deaths.

Pearl River County had 4,833 cases with 149 deaths.

“If you haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, it's time to reconsider,” according to an MSDH statement last week. “The delta variant that's now circulating means that your risk is higher than it has been in the past. It's not only easier to get COVID-19 now, it's more likely that you'll be seriously ill (and pass illness on to family and friends). If you're unvaccinated and 65 or older, COVID-19 can be deadly -- but the new delta variant is also putting young adults into the hospital. There are convenient and free vaccinations available almost everywhere in Mississippi. Take a minute to locate one near you and schedule a visit. Check for local providers at , or one of MSDH's vaccination sites around the state:,23419,420,976.html.”

As of last Thursday, only about 11,899 Hancock County 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.

If you need a ride to get vaccinated, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is offering help with transportation. Call the toll free line, 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 Moderna vaccine is for those 16-up and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved only for those 18-up.

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