Both Carroll and Montgomery counties are seeing significant increases in COVID-19 cases.
When statewide numbers were released Thursday and Friday, both days reported 1,000 new cases in Mississippi. Locally, Carroll County saw a significant increase of over 100 cases, a huge jump from its previous numbers, with the increase reportedly stemming from an outbreak at the Carroll-Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility.
Monday, the Carroll County was reporting 460 positive cases since March. However, for the week of Oct. 3, the county reported just 332 cases, and on Oct. 10, the county reported 343 cases.
According to Carroll County Emergency Management and Civil Defense Director Ken Strachan, there was an outbreak at the Carroll-Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility which led to the surge in positive cases.
Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker said the Mississippi Department of Corrections sent 56 inmates to the Carroll-Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility. He said the inmates started showing symptoms, and on Oct. 1, 26 staff members and all inmates were tested. He said of the two groups, all staff tested negative, 113 inmates tested positive, and 147 tested negative.
He said after receiving the report, they immediately quarantined all of the positive cases and separated the negative and positive cases for 14 days. He said most inmates had mild symptoms, but one had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Monday, Montgomery County was reporting 527 positive cases since March. On Oct. 10, the county reported 511 cases and 23 deaths, 19 of those new cases. The week prior, the county reported a total of 490 cases and 21 deaths, of those, 25 were new cases and two new deaths were reported.
The Carroll County School District reported no new cases for the week of Oct. 10, however the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District reported four children were placed in quarantine at the elementary school and three at the high school with 1-5 teachers testing positive at both schools.
However, Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Teresa Jackson, superintendent of education for the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District, confirmed that some members of the Winona Tigers football team and coaches have been quarantined “due to close contact with a person who had a positive test result for COVID-19.”
Jackson said the team will not play in the scheduled match-up against Pisgah in their last game of the regular season, however, post season play is still an option for the Tigers.
During his Monday afternoon press conference Governor Tate Reeves said the state has seen a slight increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases over the past five to six weeks, however, he was concerned because even though COVID-19 positive hospitalizations and ICU numbers were down, the number of hospitalizations and ICUs were up overall.
Reeves signed another executive order, ordering all hospitals to reserve 10 percent of their capacity for COVID-19 cases. In the order, Reeves stated that if they did not reserve the capacity, they could not do the non-elective surgeries that are known to bring in revenue.
Reeves also placed a mask mandate on nine counties: Desoto, Jackson, Lee, Forrest, Lamar, Neshoba, Claiborne, Chickasaw and Itawamba counties. These counties cannot have more than 10 people to a gathering or more than 50 people at an outdoor gathering. He said they are also watching Harrison, Hinds and Rankin counties.
The City of Winona’s mask ordinance is still in effect for all public buildings and commercial businesses.
Reeves was asked about the upcoming holidays, especially Thanksgiving.
“If Thanksgiving 2020 is anything like Thanksgiving 2019/2018 then we are going to see an increase in numbers,” he said.
Reeves said if people wanted to gather, they could find a way to do so, but they must understand the risk involved with gathering. He said he wouldn’t be opposed to the gatherings if the state could see the positive numbers declining as they did in late summer.
Reeves said it has never been state officials’ intentions, at least from his perspective, to eradicate the virus because it’s unrealistic. He said his intent has always been “to protect the integrity of the state’s healthcare systems.”
Dr. Thomas Dobbs noted in the press conference Monday that the increasing amount of COVID cases had shifted from the black community to the white community. Dobbs said Caucasians are making up for more positive cases and ICUs patients more than Blacks.
Dobbs said numbers could go back down, but it’s going to take the work of all Mississippians to do so.