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Hospital in line for share of $13M from feds

Mississippi hospitals in rural areas will receive nearly $13 million in federal funding to help fight the coronavirus, according to a news release.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is giving $12,918,800 through its Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program to 50 small rural hospitals in the state, according to the release from the White House.

Panola Medical Center will receive a share of the federal money, but local officials have not yet been given details of the amount.

Hospitals can use the money to expand access to testing in rural areas as well as for other coronavirus mitigation efforts needed in their communities.

“The Biden Administration recognizes the important role that small rural hospitals have in closing the equity gap and ensuring that rural Americans can protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,” said Secretary Xavier Becerra in the news release.

The state’s Department of Health Monday announced 796 new coronavirus cases over a three-day period from July 9 through July 11 and two new deaths during that same time period. A little over one million people have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

In Panola County, some 4,683 cases of coronavirus have been reported to the MSDH since March of 2020 when the data collection began on a daily basis. Since then, 112 deaths have been recorded for the county with 15 of those being from cases that originated in a long term care facility.

The local hospital, along with the county, the city, and the other Panola towns, have all received several grants and other federal funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic mitigation and economic recovery efforts – money that has been used to enhance local officials’ ability to provide for virus testing and vaccination distribution among other needs.

PHOTO: A new mural was recently attached to the front of Panola Medical Center highlighting the top spots and features of Batesville and Panola County. The artwork was designed and completed by Joey Gordon, the plant operations supervisor at the hospital. Panola Medical is one of 50 small rural hospitals in Mississippi that will be eligible for part of nearly $13 million in federal COVID relief funding announced Monday. (Johnathan Williams)