JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is reporting 2,326 new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Mississippi, along with three additional deaths. The new cases were reported to MSDH between July 16 and July 18.
This brings the state’s total number of cases to 329,130 with 7,468 deaths.
State Health Officer Dr. Dobbs tweeted about the new numbers on Monday. He said, “Very sad indeed. Didn’t have to be this way. Fourth wave is here.”
Mississippi has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation, and the increase of cases is happening as schools prepare for the new academic year. Classes begin July 26 in the northern Mississippi city of Corinth and in early to mid-August in most other districts.
The state Board of Education on Thursday adopted policies requiring all school districts to restart in-person learning as the main form of instruction for 2021-22. During the previous year, districts had the option for in-person or online instruction, or a combination of the two.
The education board said districts offering online classes must ensure that students receive at least 5-1/2 hours of instruction per day, students have reliable internet access and those participating in distance learning must go on campus to take statewide assessments.
Districts will be allowed to offer schoolwide or districtwide distance learning if needed because of the pandemic or other emergencies, under the new policies.
The state Health Department released its own guidelines saying all eligible teachers, staff and students 12 and older should receive COVID-19 vaccination; masks should be worn inside schools by all people are 2 or older who are not fully vaccinated; and schools should maintain at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) of distance between students in classrooms.
“School districts have a limited number of buses, limited square footage in classrooms, and many other efficiency-related obstacles,” the DeSoto plan said. “Social distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible, and strategies will be implemented by school officials based on the feasibility of the unique space at each school and in each classroom.”
The Health Department also said routine screening testing of asymptomatic unvaccinated students, teachers and staff is recommended. It said schools should continue to isolate students, teachers and staff who have COVID-19 and should continue to conduct contact tracing to identify people who should be quarantined.
Under the Health Department guidance, fully vaccinated students, teachers and staff do not have to wear a mask indoors, do not have to quarantine or be excluded from school if exposed to COVID-19 and do not have to be tested unless they show symptoms.
Cumulative Cases and Deaths by County
Totals of all reported COVID-19 cases, including those in long-term care (LTC) facilities.
The numbers in this table are provisional. County case and deaths totals may change as investigation finds new or additional information.
|County||Total Cases||Total Deaths||Total LTC Facility Cases||Total LTC Facility Deaths|
Presumed COVID-19 cases recovered, estimated weekly (does not include cases still under investigation).
MSDH has more information about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine on its website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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