By Alyssa Schnugg
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Lafayette County slowed down in the last week, according to local and state data.
In the first week of August, there were 120 new cases. From Aug. 7 through Thursday, there have been 88 reported new cases in the county.
The number of deaths in the county went from 15 to 20, also a decrease from the first week of August where about 10 people died from the virus who live in Lafayette County.
Fifteen of the deaths were patients in long-term care facilities.
The Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford is still battling an outbreak with 22 staff and 41 residents testing positive as of Monday, with 13 deaths reported at the facility.
According to the city of Oxford’s data on its website, as of Thursday, there are an estimated 130 active cases in the county, down from 164 last Friday. That number is figured by looking at reported positive cases and backing out cases that are more than 14 days old.
Since March, Lafayette County has had 1,025 positive cases, with the biggest jump occurring in the last four weeks. During the early weeks of the pandemic, Lafayette County averaged about five news cases a week.
The University of Mississippi has reported a total of 129 positive cases among students and faculty/staff. In the last week, there have been 16 reported positive cases. Those numbers are reported to MSDH and while some are included in the state’s numbers if the patient lives full-time in Oxford or Lafayette County, others with out-of-county addresses are reported elsewhere.
As of Aug. 8, 412 positive cases in Lafayette County were in the 18-29 age group; 53 in people under 18 and four in people 90 or older. About half of the cases were in people 30-89.
About 55% of those local residents testing positive were white, about 33% were black and 12% were of other races.
About 69% of those who died in Lafayette County from the virus were white and 31% were black.
As of Aug. 8, those who reportedly died from COVID-19 in Lafayette County were 60 years old or older and one person who died was in their 40s.
Lafayette County schools opened last week; however, the Oxford School District voted to delay its opening until Aug. 24 due to climbing numbers. The University of Mississippi resumes classes on Aug. 24. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs recently said the number of positive cases could increase once schools are open.
Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday passed a statewide mask mandate for inside stores and in public places last week. During a press conference Thursday, the governor said virus numbers were improving thanks to residents and businesses following guidelines and the mask mandate. He pleaded with citizens to continue their efforts.
Mississippi has had 69,986 cases since March with 2,011 deaths, according to the MSDH.
Also this week, the probability of having a fall college football season was threatened when the Big Ten and Pac 12 conferences announced on Tuesday they were postponing fall sports until the spring.
Folks in Oxford are still awaiting word from the SEC as to its decision on football. However, if the ACC and Big 12 also cancel, it’s likely the SEC will delay the season as well since there will be no teams to play.