As Mississippi shattered its record of COVID-19 daily case counts with 2,746 new cases Wednesday, the four-county area saw a record-breaking spike of 658 new cases over the past week, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) website.
Lowndes County continues to lead its surrounding counties in new COVID-19 cases, data shows. As of Wednesday afternoon, the latest when data is available, Lowndes had seen a total of 3,002 cases, adding 391 — the biggest increase the county has recorded weekly since March — over the past week, according to MSDH’s website.
Oktibbeha County had seen 2,750 cases as of Wednesday. Clay County saw 1,043 cases and Noxubee had 786, data shows. Clay County added 72 new cases over the past week — the second consecutive week where the number of new cases exceeded 70.
The four counties have altogether seen a total of 7,581 cases and 179 deaths since the pandemic began. Lowndes County has had 71 deaths, Oktibbeha 64 deaths, Clay 27 deaths and Noxubee 17 deaths.
The state of Mississippi saw a total of 13,919 new cases between Dec. 2 and Wednesday, recording more than 2,000 cases a day on Dec. 3, Dec. 4 and Wednesday.
Under an Aug. 14 state order, school districts must report the number of COVID-19 cases among staff and students to MSDH on a weekly basis. When schools record fewer than five positive cases a week, MSDH lists the number as between one and five.
Lowndes County School District continues to lead area school districts in weekly COVID-19 case counts, data shows. The district recorded a total of 37 cases among students and staff — the district’s highest weekly count since school started Sept. 1, according to the district’s reporting at https://www.lowndes.k12.ms.us/. Each of the district’s eight schools saw positive cases over the past week, with Caledonia High School recording eight — the most among all schools, data shows.
Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District reported a total of 24 positive cases during the week of Nov. 30, including 12 students and 12 employees, according to its weekly case counts online at https://www.starkvillesd.com/covid19/numbers/index/. Since school started Aug. 24, the district has witnessed 63 positive cases among students and 32 among staff, data shows.
Columbus Municipal School District saw a total of 16 positive cases the week of Nov. 30, including six students and 10 employees, CMSD Superintendent Cherie Labat told The Dispatch. The district has seen 36 confirmed cases among students and 32 among staff, she said.
Seven of the eight schools in West Point Consolidated School District (WPCSD) reported data to the MSDH, according to the department’s website. Fifth Street School and South Side Elementary School each recorded one to five cases among staff during the week of Nov. 30, and Fifth Street, South Side, West Point Elementary School and West Point High School each recorded one to five cases among students during the same period. That means the district saw six to 30 cases over the past week. West Point Career and Technology Center did not report any data.
Noxubee County School District saw one positive case the week of Nov. 30, Superintendent Rodriguez Broadnax told The Dispatch. Between Monday and Thursday, the district also saw two more positive cases among students and staff, he said.
Magnolia Christian School in Noxubee County is the only private school in the region that has been consistently reporting weekly numbers to MSDH, even doing so during the week of Thanksgiving. The school recorded between one and five cases for the week of Nov. 30 among staff, according to MSDH.
The same week, Oak Hill Academy in Clay County and Starkville Christian School recorded between one to five cases among students and staff, data shows. Annunciation Catholic School in Lowndes and South Haven Mennonite School in Noxubee reported zero cases. No other private school in the area reported data to MSDH, in violation of the Aug. 14 order.
Mississippi School of Mathematics and Science (MSMS) recorded no positive cases for the week of Nov. 30, according to MSDH.
As of Thursday, Mississippi State University (MSU) had 48 active cases, including 31 among students and 17 among staff, according to its daily updates on its website. There were 97 positive active cases reported Dec. 3.
Mississippi University for Women updates its count every Friday, but had not updated its numbers as of press time today. As of Dec. 4, it had five new cases among students and four new cases among staff. Total, the university has 66 cases among students and 13 cases among staff.
Mississippi has had a total of 172,955 cases and 4,083 deaths since the pandemic began in March. After shattering its single-day record with 2,457 cases on Dec. 2, the state broke the record two days later with 2,480 daily cases recorded. The single-day count reached a new high Wednesday, with 2,746 cases recorded, data shows.
The state also reported 1,125 hospitalizations on Tuesday, the third consecutive day where Mississippi recorded a daily number of more than 1,100 hospitalized patients. That represents a record high since the pandemic began in March, according to MSDH.
As of Wednesday, the United States had witnessed a total of 15,040,175 cases since Jan. 21, with almost 290,000 deaths since January and more than 1.4 million cases recorded over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Yue Stella Yu was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.