Mississippi sets record for highest daily case count

Mississippi has set a new record for one-day COVID-19 cases, according to the Mississippi Department of Health. The state saw 5,023 new positive cases Thursday, increasing the state’s total COVID-19 cases to 381,147. 

On Thursday, Governor Tate Reeves extended the state’s emergency status to enable state resources to deal with the recent swell of infections. The order was expected to expire on Sunday, but will stay in place for the next 30 days. 

“This extension will ease the process of marshaling additional resources for our response (that I described yesterday), allow our system of care to continue to transfer patients to hospitals where treatment is available, ensure expanded access to telemedicine, and will keep options open for use of the great men and women of the MS National Guard,” Reeves said in a statement. “There will be no lockdowns and there will be no statewide mandates.”

The Mississippi Department of Health also recorded 31 deaths, with 19 occurring between June 1 and August 8. Long-term care facilities across the state saw 166 outbreaks. None of the reported deaths of 20 and 30 year-olds were vaccinated, but several cases in older age groups were breakthrough infections, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in a press conference Friday. 

Reeves said that the government’s continued focus is on increasing vaccination rates, as a large majority of those currently infected and hospitalized were not vaccinated. As precautionary steps, the Department of Health has postponed all elective surgeries until August 15, added ICU capacity in two Veterans Affairs hospitals and made an made an emergency assistance request to other states for 920 health care professionals to fill a labor shortage in the hospitals. 

“I didn’t make this decision without extensive consideration of all factors but I am convinced this action is the best path forward given the ever-changing environment we currently face,’ Reeves said.