The coronavirus sweeping across the world like wildfire is demonstrating considerable spread in Mississippi, with the number of confirmed cases skyrocketing Tuesday morning.
Mississippi had 320 confirmed cases of a novel coronavirus, up 71 from Monday afternoon and 113 since Sunday, after 1,872 people have been tested for COVID-19 by the Mississippi State Department of Health Public Health Laboratory in Jackson. Those figures include tests run by private labs, which are required to report their data to the MSDH.
Pike County recorded three new confirmed cases Tuesday, bringing the local total to seven. Wilkinson County recorded two new cases for a total of four.
Pike County supervisors called on local municipalities to consider supporting the imposition of a county-wide nighttime curfew for at least two weeks.
The rapid increase could indicate vast community spread but it could also indicate increased testing, with local and state medical officials opening up drive-through cough and fever clinics to expand access to medical screening.
Hinds, DeSoto and Harrison counties, the hardest-hit areas of the state, have recorded 31, 29 and 24 confirmed cases, respectively.
Notably, Amite County hasn’t recorded a confirmed case.
Cases have been confirmed in 58 of the state’s 82 counties, with Choctaw, Newton and Noxubee counties identifying their first cases Tuesday morning.
Because of the scarcity of personal protective equipment and tests, the time it takes to confirm tests and the requirements for testing, many people who exhibit mild or no symptoms may never be included in the statewide total of confirmed cases.
The real number of infections is logically much higher than that confirmed each day by the State Department of Health, which could indicate the estimated mortality rate associated with COVID-19 is inflated.
The Mississippi State Department of Health has identified only one death in the initial wave of the outbreak, a Hancock County man between the ages of 60 and 69 who suffered chronic underlying health conditions and died in a Louisiana hospital.
Cases have been confirmed across age groups at about the same rate, although two-thirds of patients are women. A third of confirmed cases have required hospitalization.
There are three confirmed cases among patients 18 and under, 24 in patients between the ages of 18-29, 13 in patients between ages 30-39, 27 in patients between ages 40-49, 18 in patients between ages 50-59, 26 in patients ages 60-69 and 26 in patients 70 and older.
In neighboring Louisiana, health department officials reported 1,388 cases statewide Tuesday afternoon that have resulted in 46 deaths, including a Washington Parish case thought to have been in contact with a Walthall County patient at a bar in Louisiana several weeks ago.
The state has collected results from 8,603 tests and 43 of 64 parishes have reported confirmed cases. Neighboring Washington and Tangipahoa parishes report three and four cases, respectively.
The United States added about 10,000 confirmed cases Tuesday morning, reaching over 51,000 according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pandemic has caused 667 U.S. deaths and has infected at least 415,000 people worldwide.