Saturday, May 28, 2022

Oxford Sees Slight Decrease in COVID-19 Cases; Schools Still Reporting High Numbers

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

While Lafayette County is still seeing high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, there was a slight decrease in new cases over the last week.

According to Oxford’s Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Allgood, Lafayette County has averaged 115 new cases a day in the last week.

“But that is a decrease from the week before where we averaged 200 new cases a day,” he said Tuesday at the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting. “So we’re seeing better numbers in the last few days.”

Mayor Robyn Tannehill reported that there were 57 patients in Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi on Tuesday with COVID-19, seven of those were in the ICU. She said the hospital is still allowing elective procedures.

“I confirmed with Bill Henning (BMH-NM president and CEO) that 70 percent of the patients with Covid that were admitted were people from outside Lafayette County,” Tannehill said. “And 87 percent of those admitted were un-vaccinated.”

Tannehill also mentioned that the White House has launched its free COVID-19 home test website where all households can order up to four free home tests. According to the website, tests should arrive within two weeks.

“I would encourage everyone to get on there and order their tests,” she said.

She also recommended people schedule free testing with the Mississippi State Department of Health which is operating a testing site at the Oxford Conference Center.

“There are lots of available testing times, so please utilize that free testing rather than going to the emergency room,” she said.

The Board took no actions in regard to COVID-19 policies. A mask mandate for inside city buildings remains in place.

The Oxford School District continues to see high numbers of COVID-19 among staff and students.

During the week of Jan. 10-16, there was a total of 213 new cases – 56 teachers and staff and 157 students. There is no mask mandate for the district currently. There are currently, 547 students and 18 teachers out of school due to being quarantined.

The Lafayette County School District reports its cases to the MSDH, which has not updated its school reports since Jan. 7. However, the district closed school on Tuesday due to staff shortages because of COVID-19 and is requiring masks for everyone at all of its schools this week.

The district evaluates its mask mandate policy on a week-to-week to basis. Currently, the district remains at Red Level, which means the district is seeing a high number of new cases.

The spring semester at the University of Mississippi started on Tuesday; however, the school is reporting today that there are 115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported on campus – 58 students, 37 staff members, and 20 faculty members.

Four students are in isolation and one is being quarantined in student housing.

Over the past seven days, the university reports 122 new cases, up from 67 new cases the previous week.

Since the pandemic started in March, Lafayette County has had 12,172 cases and 152 deaths as of Tuesday.