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Cases up 200, deaths 5 in past week

Hospitalizations down here and statewide; officials hoping trend stays downward

The Mississippi State Department of Health on Tuesday reported 644 new cases of COVID-19, including 21 in Panola County. In the past week, more than 200 new infections have been recorded here, along with five additional deaths.

Panola County now has (as of Tuesday afternoon) 1,068 cases on file since reporting began March 11 with a total of 16 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Of those deaths, one was at a long term care facility.

Although the positive cases continue to concern local officials, it’s clear the sharp trajectory up that was observed at the end of July has begun to taper. Panola continues to be a leader in weekly testing, and positive cases, in North Mississippi, thoug.

Statewide, there have been 68,293 cases and 1,944 deaths during the pandemic. Most have recovered from their illness, and some of those testing positive had few symptoms and were never severely sick.

Area hospitals have not reached capacity because of the disease, but all have reported an increase in testing and triage of patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Acute cases of the virus requiring patients be hospitalized are also decreasing from the statewide highs two weeks ago.

With the return of students to classrooms in many parts of the state, health officials are watching closely for the signs of an outbreak in schools. They say outbreaks can be contained quickly and with little spread if teachers and administrators rigorously follow the sanitation guidelines prepared by each district, and report symptomatic students and staff immediately.

Schools, like area industries, have plans that will closely track positive tests, but not necessarily require full quarantine for everyone in a classroom or factory setting when one or two cases are discovered.

Schools will allow students to distance learn, and still take part in extracurricular activities, but those arrangements are made on an individual basis, and students will not be allowed to attend some days, and use virtual classes on others, without the consent of the district.

In surrounding counties, Lafayette has a total of 987 cases with 19 deaths, Tate has 743 cases with 30 deaths, Quitman has 269 with one death, Yalobusha has 316 and 10 deaths, Tallahatchie has 541 cases with 11 deaths, and Grenada has 851 cases with 23 deaths.