Alcorn County’s deaths attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic reached 50 this week as the virus continues to spread in local communities.

Among a large number of deaths reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health on Tuesday were three that occurred in Alcorn County between Jan. 5 and 11 and another two gleaned from death certificate reports that occurred between Oct. 28 and Jan. 8. Tishomingo County had one recent death reported on Tuesday and one from death certificate reports.

In Wednesday’s update, Tishomingo County had another recent death reported, bringing the county’s total to 59.

No additional deaths were reported in Prentiss County or Tippah County.

The state reported 1,648 new positive COVID tests on Tuesday with 98 new deaths – a new daily record for deaths – and 1,942 new cases with 31 deaths on Wednesday.

Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday expressed some mild optimism for the numbers, with a couple of previous days showing some decline in cases.

“That’s good news,” he said, “but I also want to be clear – two days does not make a trend. And, in fact, even if that trend were to continue, I still expect not to see a decline in hospitalizations in the very short run.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Magnolia Regional Health Center reported 25 patients currently hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19, easing down from a recent high of more than 30. The state reported 1,358 patients with confirmed infection hospitalized as of Tuesday, with 360 of those in ICU and 228 on a ventilator.

Test positivity rates have risen in Alcorn and neighboring Mississippi counties. The Department of Health’s latest weekly snapshot for Alcorn County shows a test positivity rate of 20 percent for the period of Dec. 17 – Dec. 30, rising from 17 percent in the previous report. The county had 204 new cases via suspected community transmission during the week of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, rising from 114 cases in the previous week, and six cases via outbreaks, compared to two via outbreaks in the previous week.

Tishomingo County had a positivity rate of 22.2 percent, rising from 15.8 percent. The county had 84 new cases via suspected community transmission, compared to 80 the previous week, and none via outbreaks, compared to seven the previous week.

Prentiss County had a positivity rate of 30.2 percent, rising from 20.9 percent in the previous report. The county had 154 new cases via suspected community transmission, rising from 113 the previous week, and one case via outbreaks, unchanged from the prior week.

Tippah County had a positivity rate of 19.7 percent, rising from 16.3 percent. The county had 135 new cases via suspected community transmission, rising from 108 the previous week, and one case via outbreaks, down from six the prior week.

For McNairy County, the Tennessee Department of Health reports an average test positivity rate of 10.8 percent over the last seven days and an average of 19.1 new cases per day for the period of Dec. 30 to Jan. 12, down from 27.4 in the previous period.

The Mississippi Department of Health continues to monitor for the more transmissible variant of COVID-19 which has begun showing up in the U.S.

“The same things that work for old COVID work for new COVID,” said Dobbs, including wearing a face mask, social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene.

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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