Health officials identified 18 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pike County on Friday as the area neared an infection rate severe enough to trigger a state-imposed mask mandate, curfews and other restrictions.

The county has had 488 documented infections since March.  

Statewide, health officials identified 1,031 infections and another 11 deaths on Friday — none in Southwest Mississippi — during one of the highest single-day spikes in cases since the outbreak began.

Gov. Tate Reeves on Thursday placed 13 counties under tighter restrictions, including a requirement to wear face masks in public and to limit indoor and outdoor gatherings.

He said counties that record 200 new cases in a two-week period or reach an infection rate of 500 people per 100,000 will see restrictions as well.

As of Friday, there were 167 new infections identified among Pike County residents over the previous two-week period — just 33 shy of the benchmark.

Officials recorded a per capita rate of infection of 101 per 100,000 people for Pike County, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Though a ways away from triggering the restrictions, what’s more concerning is the surge in cases experienced in Pike County in recent weeks.

In the two-week period between June 14 and June 27, officials identified 108 infections countywide, bringing the total over the last month to 275.

But in the six-week period immediately preceeding that, officials identified an average of just 24 infections each week. Those infections followed state-imposed restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus in April.

Between April 4 and April 18, when restrictions were being imposed at rapid pace around the state, officials identified 72 infections in Pike County.

They discovered another 56 between April 18 and May 2, 26 between May 2 and May 16 and 29 between May 16 and the end of the month.

The lowest number of infections identified since the virus was detected came over the next two-week period, between May 30 and June 13, with just 17. But that would not last long.

This past week, infections surged and so did deaths as Pike County concludes its deadliest week of the outbreak, with five confirmed since last weekend.

There were just 200 infections identified in the two-month between April 4 and May 30 in Pike County — 75 less than officials have identified in just the last month.

Notably, infections surged in Pike County over Independence Day weekend but the trend appeared unaffected by potential travel and gatherings held over Memorial Day weekend.

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