By Alyssa Schnugg
While the number of new COVID-19 cases in Mississippi being reported daily by the Mississippi State Department of Health has continued to level out, averaging about 650 new cases daily, the number of positive cases in the LOU community continues to climb.
Since Saturday, MSDH reported 209 new cases in Lafayette County, bringing the total to 1,590.
On Wednesday, Lafayette County accounted for 8% of the total new cases in the state.
According to the city of Oxford’s data, there are an estimated 337 active cases in Lafayette County – up by about 120 since last week.
On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen reviewed the growing numbers but took no action, saying the controls and mandates are in place and that it was up to people to follow them and social distance.
This week, Gov. Tate Reeves extended the mandatory mask mandate for two weeks and extended the 25% capacity for spectators at sporting events to high school sports.
“The next 10 days are critical,” Reeves said during a press conference Tuesday.
The University of Mississippi is reporting 167 new cases in the last seven days, bringing its total to 512 with 315 active cases currently. The university is in its second week of classes.
Since many students are here in Oxford but live elsewhere, those positive cases are often reported to their hometown and state so it is unclear how many of UM’s cases are included in the MSDH’s reported cases for Lafayette County.
Most of UM’s active cases, 307, are students with the rest being among faculty and staff.
There are 49 students in quarantine housing on campus and 33 are in isolation housing.
There have been 38 deaths in Lafayette County associated with the virus – 27 being patients in a long-term care facility.
According to MSDH’s weekly county report, 25 of the deaths occurred in people 70-89 years old. The youngest patient to die from COVID-19 in Lafayette County was in their 40s.
Most positive cases – about 653 – are among the 18-29 age group. About 70 cases have been reported in children under 18 years old.