By Alyssa Schnugg
Daily cases of COVID-19 in Lafayette County hit record highs not more than a week ago.
And while new cases declined throughout most of the last seven days, that number began to rise on Tuesday.
On Sept. 1, Lafayette County gained 74 new cases in one day. Then the number of daily cases dropped each day throughout the week, and on Sept. 6 there were just 11 new reported cases.
But the decline didn’t last long.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, there were 38 new cases in Lafayette County on Tuesday.
With the first home football game slated for Saturday, cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks in Lafayette County, despite what appears to be a downward trend across the state.
State Health Official Thomas Dobbs posted a graphic recently showing the number of cases in Mississippi has started to decline as has the number of new COVID-19-related admissions at hospitals across the state.
Here in Oxford at the Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, the number of people in the hospital and in ICU has remained steady. There are about 180 staffed beds in the hospital with 24 ICU beds.
On Sept. 1, there were 50 people in the hospital with 12 people in the ICU. As of Tuesday, there were 55 patients with COVID-19 with 16 patients in the ICU.
The number of new cases reported by the Oxford School District has also declined in the last week.
From Aug. 23-29, there were 46 new cases; however, from Aug. 30-Sept. 5, the district reported 25 new cases with seven being faculty or staff and 18 being students. The highest number of cases, seven, was reported at Oxford Middle School.
There are 71 students in quarantine due to contract tracing.
Lafayette County School District no longer reports new cases on its website, but rather those figures are reported by the MSDH on its website. However, those reports will not be updated until Sept. 10.
Cases at the University of Mississippi have also declined this past week. Over the past seven days, there have been 98 new confirmed cases, compared to the week before when there were 176 new cases.
There are 103 active cases currently, with 97 students, four staff members and two faculty members.
The city of Oxford currently has a mask mandate in place for all public businesses and buildings and both school districts require masks. There is no mask mandate in Lafayette County outside city limits, except in schools.