Jail official succumbs to virus

A Mississippi National Guard medic collects a sample at a COVID-19 testing site at the Harrison Building in Liberty last week.

Mississippi and Pike County recorded their highest single-day COVID-19 death counts, sheriff’s officials mourned a public servant who succumbed to the virus and a local state lawmaker confirmed he was one of a growing number of lawmakers to have contracted the virus during a grim day of news Tuesday.

Pike County jail administrator Capt. Glenn Green, 73, died Monday from complications of coronavirus at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Arrangements are incomplete with Hartman-Jones Funeral Home.

Green previously worked as the jail administrator for former sheriff Mark Shepherd and returned to the job in January to serve under Sheriff James Brumfield. In 2013 the McComb Exchange Club presented him with the Deputy of the Year Award.

He served with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Unit after being drafted in May 1970 and served for another 12 years as a trooper with the Mississippi State Highway Patrol.

Originally from Philadelphia, Miss., he attended Delta State University before serving in the armed forces and was particularly fond of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Brumfield said Tuesday that all of the other four employees who tested positive in June are recovering well and that some are expected back into work next week.

He said there is no outbreak among inmates at the county jail.

Green’s death came as Mississippi recorded its deadliest day since the outbreak began in March, with 44 identified Tuesday afternoon. Four of those were Pike County residents, bringing the death count here to 16. One death was from Amite County resident and another was from Walthall County.

Mississippi also recorded 957 new infections on Tuesday.

Health officials identified 14 new infections in Pike County for a total of 454 and 16 deaths recorded since March.

There were 10 new infections identified in Amite County, where three people have died, for a total of 104 since the outbreak began in March.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said hospitals in Hinds, Rankin, Madison, Forrest, Jones and Washington counties will suspend elective medical procedures through Thursday as they surge past capacity.

“For everyone who’s willing to listen, please listen. It’s getting worse every day,” he said. “We’re running out of hospital beds and running out of time.

“We’re getting reports and complaints on a regular basis because people are unable to receive medical care when they show up to the emergency room,” Dobbs noted.

As of Tuesday, eight members of the Mississippi Legislature had tested positive for coronavirus, including House Public Health Committee Chairman Rep. Sam C. Mims V, R-McComb, and another 11 are suspected of having the virus.

The results of 270 other legislators were expected back Tuesday night, Dobbs said.

“You can’t put a bunch of people all together in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century and not expect something bad to happen,” Dobbs said. “It’s just an insane thought process.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said the surge was expected among public health officials but that outbreaks in long-term care settings were growing worse and more numerous.

“We did anticipate this, unfortunately, with the big growth and big jump that we’re seeing in the number of cases,” Byers said. “Once an infected employee is identified, they need to be excluded from work.”

He said anyone who tests positive should isolate at home.

“Don’t wait for someone to come tell you to isolate,” he cautioned.

Dobbs said local municipalities should enforce mandatory mask-wearing ordinances.

“Encourage every community, every city, every county to enact a mask ordinance so that we can protect our citizens as much as possible,” he said. “My greatest fear right now is being realized across the state — patients at the emergency room are being refused a bed.”

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