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Lafayette County Gains 769 New COVID-19 Cases Since Friday; 2 New Deaths Reported Locally

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


Cases of COVID-19 continue to climb in Lafayette County and across Mississippi, and much like this past summer, hospitals are quickly filling up.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Lafayette County gained 769 cases since Friday. From Jan. 1-6, the county gained 489 new cases.

Along with more cases, two people have died from COVID-19 in Lafayette County since Jan. 6, bringing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths locally to 145.

On the MSDH’s website that tracks hospitalizations, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi had 51 patients with COVID-19 in the hospital as of Sunday, with eight people in the ICU with the virus. The graph shows no available staffed beds were available; however, hospital officials have stated bed availability can change hour-to-hour and day-to-day.

From the MSDH

Oxford School District had 145 new cases of the virus – 59 teachers and 86 students – last week, with 182 students now in quarantine. Students returned to school on Thursday. Many of the cases were reported to the district before students returned to school. There is not a mask mandate for the city school district.

Lafayette County reports its numbers directly to the MSDH, which has not updated the school numbers since mid-December. The district reviews its number of cases weekly. Last week, the LCSD announced a mask requirement will be in place for all schools until at least Jan. 14.

The University of Mississippi announced Monday that its mask requirement will remain in place when the spring semester begins on Jan. 18.

As of today, the school is reporting 60 confirmed active cases – nine students, 42 staff members and nine faculty members. There have been 67 new cases in the last seven days, up from the 27 new cases reported the week before.

The rise in cases has been felt inside Oxford’s City Hall as well. Last week, Mayor Robyn Tannehill announced that several employees across several departments were out with COVID-19, or due to being quarantined for being in close contact.

She said on Friday that 15 people in the Environmental Service Department were out due to COVID-19, causing possible delays in trash collection.

“We so far have managed to pick up everyone’s trash up on the days it’s supposed to but we need the public to be patient with us,” Tannehill said Friday.

In the Building Department, three of five were out last week. Several firefighters were also out last week but most are returning from quarantine this week.

Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen said the department did have a few employees test positive over the holidays; however, all are now back at work.

“We have not experienced any staffing shortages,” he said Friday. “We are following the guidelines set forth to make sure we can stay as healthy as possible.”

McCutchen said the department attempts to take as much information over the phone as possible to limit interaction when they are able to do so.

“Our communications department does a good job of asking callers if they wish to speak with an officer,” he said. “If the caller chooses not to, we will still follow up and we will contact the caller if they wish.”

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