Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are down across the state, health officials identified fewer cases Monday than in recent days and The Claiborne was removed from a state list of long-term care facilities with ongoing coronavirus outbreaks.

Despite the modest suppression over the weekend, the coronavirus continues to tear through communities in Mississippi, endangering the elderly and otherwise immuno-comprimised. Infections among those aged 18-29 continue to define one of the largest public health challenges facing the state.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said he expects to see a surge in infections once students return to class, with many schools beginning in-person lessons this week.

The Corinth School District opened last Monday and reported its first case of coronavirus on Friday, noting at least 14 other students were directly exposed to the illness.

Amite County School District Supt. Don Cuevas announced over the weekend that students wouldn’t return to the classroom until Sept. 8.

District administrators originally collected feedback from parents and guardians and chose to implement a hybrid schedule wherein half the students would attend lessons in person twice a week and the other half would attend on alternate days.

Wednesdays were reserved for sanitizing the campus.

Reeves received reopening plans from every school district last Friday and said he would review them over the weekend before making important announcements about schools at some point this week.

Dobbs said the State Department of Health would recommend that all students and staff wear masks while at school.

Pike County saw a modest increase of 24 infections over the weekend and an additional two deaths, while neighboring Walthall County, experiencing a severe surge in illness, recorded 28 infections and no deaths.

Young people remain the most infected age cohort in Pike County, with 139 people between ages 18-29 falling ill compared to 128 between the ages of 60-69, the group with the second highest number of infections.

The largest surge of infections in Pike County occurred the week of June 27, with about 90 people testing positive for coronavirus. Those numbers decreased slightly the next two weeks.

But Pike County is now experiencing a resurgence, with nearly 80 falling ill last week.

Statewide, the recent surge in long-term care infections has slowed. The total was down 33 since Friday with 170 ongoing outbreaks in the state, according to health department data. But Gov. Reeves said last week that he expects those numbers to surge again following the large number of young people who became infected in recent weeks.

Reeves said he expects the pattern of illness among long-term care residents to be the same as in the first wave of infections among that population, which occurred about six weeks after an unprecedented number of young people became infected just after Fourth of July weekend.

And the City of Magnolia will not hold public work sessions until further notice due to the spread of coronavirus.

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