Pike County sees 1 new virus case; state total at 249

A Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center employee gives a coronavirus test at a drive-thru testing site on Harrison Avenue in McComb on Monday morning. 

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide climbed to 249 Monday morning, including one new case reported in Pike County, an increase of 42 from Sunday.

Pike County now has four confirmed cases, the same as Lincoln County.

McComb Mayor Quordiniah Lockley, in a press release Sunday, reiterated his requested for all restaurants, bars and retail establishments to voluntarily close or restrict the number of customers to 10 or fewer and to encourage stake-out or delivery services. The mayor has also called for gyms and event centers to close and private gatherings to cease and all churches to consider cancelling services.

The results of the first positive test conducted at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center were received and published Saturday evening, hospital officials said.

“Today, we saw our first ‘positive’ hospital screen for SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease,” SMRMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Richardson said. “Like many others that become infected with this coronavirus, our patient developed a respiratory infection that required treatment within the hospital, but is now recovering at home, following standard isolation precautions.”

The hospital has opened up a drive-thru testing and outdoor triage center outside of the emergency room on Marion Avenue and a cough and fever clinic at 1506 Harrison Ave.

The drive-through cough and fever clinic brings patients through three checkpoints where they are asked for their state identification and insurance card, if available, and a phone number.

Patients will then be directed to another area for screening and possible testing. Those who exhibit symptoms and test negative for influenza or strep throat are tested for COVID-19. Patients are then assigned a parking spot to wait for results and further instruction from medical staff.

The clinic opened Saturday and runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Confirmed cases across southwest Mississippi continued to rise Monday morning, with Lawrence County reporting two, Lincoln County reporting four, Walthall County reporting two and Wilkinson County reporting three. State health labs have tested 1,392 people.

Cases appear to be confirmed at about an equal rate across age demographics, with 24 people between the ages of 18-29 testing positive, 13 between ages 30-39, 27 between ages 40-49, 18 between ages 50-59,m 26 between ages 60-69 and 26 in individuals 70 or older.

The positive identification of cases spiked between March 12 and 15, with officials confirming an average of 30 cases each day over that period.

Two-thirds of confirmed cases have not required hospitalization while 24% of cases have, according to Mississippi State Department of Health data.

Cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties.

Mississippi has one recorded death, a Hancock County man over the age of 65 and who suffered from underlying health conditions.

Across the state line, an outbreak in Orleans Parish, La., reached 451 confirmed cases Sunday afternoon and has resulted in 15 deaths.

Neighboring Tangipahoa Parish confirmed three cases Sunday and nearby Washington Parish confirmed two.

Statewide, 837 cases have been confirmed by the Louisiana Department of Health in 3,498 tests. 36 of 64 parishes have confirmed cases and 20 people have died.

There are 15,219 confirmed cases nationwide as of Monday morning and 253,692 worldwide that have resulted in 15,374 deaths.

In other developments, the Mississippi State Department of Health recommended Friday that all restaurants and bars suspend dine-in service, consistent with Centers of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores and food marts are not affected, state health officials said.

And while the virus has shuttered schools, educators are still delivering meals and lessons to students.

The McComb School District made review packets for grades K-8 available Monday morning, as did South Pike and North Pike schools. The packets for McComb students were available for pickup beginning Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Otken Elementary School and Higgins Middle School.

Review packets for grades 9-12 are available for pickup from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the high school.

Extended pickup hours for review packets for grades K-12 are available from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the high school.

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