COVID-19 statistics reported by state health officials this week show a spike in deaths in Alcorn County.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,256 new cases across the state in Wednesday’s report, with 17 additional deaths. Among those are six deaths attributed to Alcorn County during the period of Oct. 31 to Nov. 10. On Thursday, the state reported one additional Alcorn County death and one in Tippah County among 17 across the state. Mississippi logged 1,271 new cases on Thursday.

That brings the county’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 21, with a 43 percent increase during the period of Oct. 31 to Nov. 10.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Magnolia Regional Health Center reported 18 hospitalized patients being treated for COVID-19.

Health officials are concerned about recent trends in coronavirus activity.

“Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are on track toward the crisis level we saw this summer,” the Department of Health said in a public statement. “If we don’t make changes immediately, we’ll see critical shortages of first-line care for the seriously ill and injured. Turning the situation around means all of us – individuals, businesses, schools – taking preventive measures that we know work: social distancing, keeping to small gatherings and using masks to prevent virus transmission.”

Alcorn County had 16 new cases in Wednesday’s report. In the latest weekly snapshot available for the county, through Oct. 31, the county had a test positivity rate of 14.3 percent. During that week, the county had 104 new cases, the most it has had at any point throughout the pandemic, and an increase of 60 percent from the prior week. The previous high was 96 during the week ending Aug. 29. Just a few weeks earlier, for the week ending Oct. 10, the number was 33.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tate Reeves extended the current executive order through Dec. 11 and updated the list of counties with additional measures, including mask requirements. The counties are Lee, Benton, Carroll, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Humphreys, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Marshall, Rankin and Yalobusha.

“I know that we are all tired and ready to move on,” Reeves said in a news release. “But the virus is still here. It’s still working to infect and kill. We’ve gotten far better at dealing with it and allowing for life to go on. But we’re not all the way there yet. Keep fighting and protecting the most vulnerable in your life. No matter where you are, please do your best to social distance and wear a mask.”

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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