JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) held a news conference on Wednesday, July 28 to provide an update on COVID-19 in the state. This comes as cases are rapidly increasing in Mississippi due to the Delta variant.
Due to a strain at hospitals, the new measures taking effect July 29 until August 15 will enact a COVID-19 rotation to make sure patients are cared for in the appropriate hospitals based on geography and resource availability.
The new measures come as MSDH reported a death of a teenager from COVID-19. The news was announced earlier this week by the health department. This is now the fourth death among children in Mississippi from COVID-19.
Most of the cases are driven by the Delta variant statewide. Currently, there are more than 100 long term care outbreaks in Mississippi; 72 of those are nursing homes.
The primary driver of those nursing homes are among unvaccinated employees which is still below 50 percent in some states and lower across some facilities, according to health leaders. Resulting is severe illness in some cases.
“Unfortunately, some of these cases in residents do result in severe illness. We do recommend, now, that all a long-term care staff are vaccinated or tested routinely in LTC setting,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
Health leaders said they’re seeing from spillover of COVID cases among the vaccinated as well. Individuals 12 years of age and older are recommended to get the vaccine including pregnant women.
With guidance from CDC, MSDH recommends everyone in Mississippi including those fully vaccinated wear a mask in public indoor settings. This applies to schools.
Craig also said hospitals have been told to delay elective procedures. The delay will begin on Sunday, August 1, 2021.
MSDH leaders recommended that doctors and clinicians consider a booster or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for certain high-risk groups with immunocompromising conditions.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has been outside Mississippi for several days and has made few public statements about the pandemic, even as Republican governors in neighboring Arkansas and Alabama have been outspoken in promoting vaccination efforts.
Reeves posted Friday on Twitter that “risks associated with not getting vaccinated (are greater than) risks associated with getting vaccinated.”
As Mississippi schools are starting or getting ready to start classes, some districts are saying that they are not setting mask mandates because Reeves has not said he will require masks in schools.
On Wednesday, MSDH reported 1,875 new cases of the coronavirus, along with six additional deaths.
Watch the full news conference below:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.