By Alyssa Schnugg
In the last week, Lafayette County has had 200 new cases of COVID-19 reported, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The uptick in cases isn’t happening in just Lafayette County, but all over Mississippi, enough so that state health official Dr. Thomas Dobbs issued a “public health guidance” statement on Dec. 2, asking all residents of Mississippi to avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the nuclear family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school or other absolutely essential activities.
As of Monday, Lafayette County has had a total of 3,549 cases since March. There were an additional eight deaths in Lafayette County in the last week, bringing the total to 60 deaths, with 35 occurring in a long-term care facility.
According to the city of Oxford’s COVID-19 data, as of Monday, there were 316 active cases in Lafayette County.
The rise in cases placed Lafayette County as the ninth highest number of new cases from Nov. 16-29, according to the MSDH.
Lafayette County remains under a mandatory mask order by Gov. Tate Reeves.
According to the Lafayette County School District, there were nine cases of COVID-19 – three staff, six students between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6. There are 67 students and 12 staff members in quarantine.
The Oxford School District reported just two cases last week with 28 students in quarantine.
The University of Mississippi reported 32 new cases in the last week, even though the students left campus the week before for the winter holidays. Fifteen of the new cases were among faculty/staff members. The campus has had 984 cases since August.
As of Monday, there have been 167,926 cases in Mississippi since March with 4,017 deaths. There are an estimated 136,627 presumed recoveries.
Despite the rise in cases, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi is still reporting available beds both in general rooms and in the ICU.
As of Monday, there were 54 people in the hospital with COVID-19. Of the hospital’s 181 staffed beds, there were 35 available on Monday. There were five patients in the ICU with COVID-19. Of the 24 total ICU beds, eight were available on Sunday.
However, the MSDH reported hospitalizations across the state reached a record high Monday. ICU bed occupancy is very high, with 1,125 people currently in one of Mississippi’s hospitals with COVID-19, 288 patients in an ICU ward and 168 people on ventilators.