Mississippi’s average daily infection rates for COVID-19 set another record last week, although infections were down slightly in most Southwest Mississippi counties, according to state health data.

The state had another record-breaking infection rate last week, with an average of 2,182, up from the previous record 2,161, set the week of Dec. 12-18.

Pike County had a daily average of 19 infections, down slightly from the previous week’s new record of 22.

Lincoln County has steadily risen in infection rates since December and tied its earliest record of 26 average infections a day.

Amite, Franklin and Walthall all went down slightly in their infection rates. Amite County’s rate was 6.6, down from 7.1. Franklin County fell from 5.7 cases a day to 4.7 and Walthall County’s dropped to 7.7 from the previous record of 8.9 set the previous week.

Wilkinson County saw a slight rise in infections, with a daily average of 3.3, up slightly from 3.1 the week before. Infection rates are still much lower than the peak from Dec. 5 to 11, when the county saw an average of seven cases a day.

Taking into account population and the exponential rate at which infections translate into more hospitalizations and deaths, health officials will continue to drill the need to keep infections down.

And with hospitals running out of intensive care beds, those in need of medical attention are at an even greater chance of dying.

“Mississippi’s health care system is overwhelmed. We’re doing things that are not normal health care,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said last week. “The ERs are backed up. You may not get in for 12, 15 hours sometimes.”

The state reported 5,577 cases since Friday for a total of 240,309 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and 87 deaths, for a total of 5,191.

Pike County added 98 cases for 2,483, Amite County went up by 27 to 942, Franklin County reported 11 cases for 640, Lawrence County added 19 cases to 976, Lincoln County rose by 687 to 2,842, Walthall County went up by 16 cases to 1,082 and Wilkinson County added four cases to 560.

Pike and Franklin counties reported one death each on Friday, raising Pike County’s death count to 74 and Franklin County’s to 12.

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