For the first time since Labor Day and the spike of cases following homecoming festivities at area schools, Grenada County is starting to see an increase in coronavirus numbers running concurrent with the Thanksgiving holiday.
“The numbers are rising here,” Grenada County Emergency Management Agency Director Trebia Rodgers said. “Before last Wednesday, we had one to three or one to five reported COVID-19 cases each day. Then, starting Thursday and Friday, we had 11 to 12 cases a day. Then last Sunday we saw 18 cases. We’ve been here before and I hate to see that.”
Last Saturday, Mississippi saw a record total of new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, surpassing the previous record total from late July even as local, state and national medical figures warn that upcoming Thanksgiving festivities could seed a devastating rise of infections.
The Mississippi State Department of Health on Saturday reported 1,972 more cases of COVID-19. The previous single-day record came on July 30 where 1,775 cases were reported.
Mississippi, like states across the country, is facing a surge in coronavirus cases. The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Mississippi has risen from 6.8 percent on Nov. 1 to 17.2 percent on Nov. 15.
On Nov. 11, Gov. Tate Reeves extended his Safe Recovery Order until
Dec. 11. He has since placed 22 counties under a mask mandate: Benton, Carroll, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Lee, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Pontotoc, Rankin, Tate, Winston, Itawamba and Yalobusha.
The order mandates that face masks be worn in public areas where social distancing is no possible and also limits public gatherings to a maximum of 10 indoors, 50 outdoors.
With flu season in the midst, health officials said they are also seeing spike in hospital cases.
According to University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada CEO Dodie McElmurray, there are currently no available ICU beds at the hospital and 10 in house COVID-19 patients.
“Volume is picking up and we’re seeing a higher number of positive rates,” Dodie McElmurray, CEO at University of Mississippi Medical Center-Grenada, said. “We’re also seeing a higher number in the emergency room.”
McElmurray said the importance of minimizing the conjunction of flu and COVID-19 is the focus.
“We want the public to remember to thoroughly wash your hands and about the gatherings of several people, especially with the holidays around the corner,” McElmurray said.
Meagan Ray, UMMC’s manager of infection control and clinical education, said with the holidays here the public should take extreme caution especially when it comes to gatherings.
“Everyone wants to be with family during Thanksgiving, but you have to remember gatherings is one of the main causes for the transmission,” Ray said. “If you have elderly relatives you need to think about them first, this is not the year. Try to avoid that kind of exposure.”
Ray said steps should be taken to assure a safe Thanksgiving.
“As many families do their Thanksgiving it’s always done buffet style,” she said. “Have one person serving the food. Make sure everyone is touching the utensils. Instead of gathering, fix to-go plates and deliver them to family members.”
Rodgers agrees with Ray.
“This is a different type of year,” Rodgers concluded. “If you don’t use caution this year it could be the last for some.”
Statewide there are 143,879 cases of COVID-19. Grenada County has seen 1,363 with 65 active cases.
As far as neighboring counties go, Leflore County has most of the confirmed cases with 2,007. Leflore also leads with 89 Coronavirus deaths. Tallahatchie County has spiked to 947 cases and Carroll County currently has 705 cases. Yalobusha County now has 679 cases, while Webster County is currently at 416. Montgomery County has seen a surge of 719 cases, along with Calhoun County which is now up to 705 cases.