As the Delta surge recedes, Covid-19 deaths continue to be added to the count in area counties with nine logged since Sept. 29.

In daily reports this week, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported six Alcorn County deaths, with three of those occurring in the time frame of Sept. 23 to Oct. 4. Three others occurred in the broader window of Aug. 20 to Oct. 1. The county also had one added to the count on Sept. 29 that occurred between Aug. 26 and Sept. 28.

The county’s total through the duration of the pandemic now stands at 97.

In the daily MSDH reports since Sept. 29, Prentiss County had one additional death, Tippah County had one and Tishomingo County had none.

In the latest weekly snapshot, for the period of Sept. 19 to Sept. 25, Alcorn County’s new positive case count declined by 34 percent from the previous week, from 129 to 85. The positive test rate continues to be very high at 20 percent.

Tishomingo County had 77 new cases, down slightly from 83. Prentiss County was down from 67 to 44 cases, while Tippah County was an exception to this week’s trend, rising from 40 to 59 cases.

Magnolia Regional Health Center had 10 patients hospitalized for treatment of Covid-19 as of Wednesday. Nine days earlier, the number was 21.

On Friday, MSDH reported 601 new cases and 33 new deaths. In recent days, the daily case count has consistently been below 1,000.

In the weekly Covid talk with the Mississippi State Medical Association, state health leaders expressed concern that some school districts are beginning to roll back masking requirements.

“The reality is, when you look at our community transmission, it is still high or substantial in every single county in the state, even though our numbers are dropping,” said State Epidemiologist Paul Byers. “There were days in the summer that we were reporting out 100 or less cases a day.”

The discussion touched on the belief among some people who have had Covid-19 that they do not need to get the vaccine. State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs talked about the nature of the immunity to coronavirus and how it will wane over time.

“We don’t say, ‘I’ve had flu before, so I never need a flu shot,’” he said.

Flu outlook

With flu shots becoming available, Dobbs and Byers are encouraging people to get the shot now. Flu activity was extremely low last season amid masking and other precautions.

“I don’t think we’re going to have the flu season that we had last year,” said Byers. “I think we’re certainly going to see more flu activity. Certainly, we could see co-infections as well.”

Rates of RSV and other respiratory viruses were diminished, as well, during the previous light flu season.

“I think the masks demonstrated a great utility in preventing respiratory viruses,” he said.

They recommend getting the flu shot by the end of October.

“There’s a real possibility that health systems are going to be stressed again going into the winter when we sort of merge Covid with flu, so we want to do everything we can,” said Dobbs.

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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