Clay County EMA director: COVID data lags behind; ICU beds nearly full

January 13, 2021 10:08:35 AM

Tess Vrbin - [email protected]


The Intensive Care Unit beds at North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point are "pretty much full" as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in light of the Christmas holidays, Clay County Emergency Management Agency Director Torrey Williams told the West Point selectmen at their Tuesday meeting.


Clay County has recently seen increases of more than 100 new cases per week, with 122 last week and 106 the week before last. However, that data comes from testing, and not everyone who has COVID-19 confirms it with a test, Williams said.


"They figure, 'That's what I've got, I'll just quarantine myself and that will be it,'" Williams said.



Case data lags about two weeks behind the time of infection, so new cases this week were most likely contracted during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, Williams said.


Clay County has seen 1,524 cases and 31 deaths of COVID-19 as of 6 p.m. Monday, according to the Mississippi Department of Health website, but Williams said the number of deaths might also be lagging.


"Today we had two deaths and over the past week we had four deaths, so (we're) up to 37 deaths instead of 31," he said. "The process that they have to go through is making sure they didn't die of anything else, making sure their address is correct, (and) proper notification given to who they might have been exposed to if they were outside a long-term care facility."


Clay County will not have a COVID vaccine distribution site in the near future, Williams said, because MSDH can only have two sites in one health department district. Columbus and Starkville received those sites because they are more populous than West Point.


Health care providers in Clay County have submitted applications to receive vaccines to distribute, and those applications are still pending, Williams said.


In other business, Peco Foods announced last week it will expand its West Point location, which opened two and a half years ago, and close its Brooksville plant. West Point plant manager Jordan Townsend told selectmen that some of the Brooksville employees will be able to transfer to West Point.


The plant recently added a 147,000-square foot par-fry facility on its south side, and Peco will add a second expansion on the east side with 27,000 square feet for more production, Townsend said. The expansion should start with about 140 employees and "ramp up from there," he said.


Later, West Point Police Chief Avery Cook asked the board to extend the city's curfew, which runs from midnight to 5 a.m. each day, for another 30 days, and the board voted unanimously in favor.