COVID-19 cases to climb even higher as students return to school

In addition to omicron, Batson said an increase in gatherings during the holidays is likely behind the spike in cases as well.

Omicron symptoms appear to be milder than previous variants, so many people don’t realize they are infected, instead believing they have a head cold or flu, Batson said.

However, while symptoms are mild for most people, especially those who are vaccinated, hospitalizations continue to rise, Batson said.

“We are still seeing a rise in infections across the nation, including more pediatric hospitalizations, especially in children not old enough to be vaccinated yet,” he said.

The state reported 11 new coronavirus-related deaths Thursday that occurred from Dec. 21-29.

Since the virus hit the state in March 2020, a total of 543,737 COVID-19 cases and 10,450 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported.

Demand for COVID-19 testing has increased, too, in just a matter of days. In Hinds and Rankin counties the demand for COVID-19 tests is so high there were no online appointments for testing available Wednesday. Online appointments also were unavailable Tuesday in DeSoto, Clay, Calhoun and Scott counties.

Long lines outside of pharmacies offering free testing for the coronavirus were also seen around the area.

State health officials announced Wednesday they are adding additional testing sites and opening up more appointments for testing as omicron spreads.

Health department data shows at least 1,656,118 people have started the vaccination process in Mississippi as of Sunday. Since December 2020, about 1,443,274 people have been fully immunized against COVID-19. At least 415,155 have received a third dose or booster shot of Pfizer or Moderna.

Approximately 509,667 people are presumed recovered from the virus as of Dec. 27, according to the health department’s website.

The state health department on Wednesday reported outbreaks at 130 Mississippi long-term care facilities. There have been 11,422 cases of coronavirus in long-term care facilities and 2,108 deaths reported since the pandemic began.

According to a New York Times database, at least 1,243 new deaths and 543,415 cases were reported in the United States on Monday. During the past week, there has been an average of 267,305 cases per day, an increase of 126% from the average two weeks earlier.

Mississippi residents between the ages of 25 and 39 represent the largest portion of the infected population in the state with 122,854 cases.

Among patients under 18, children between the ages of 11 and 17 have the highest infection rate, with 50,406 cases identified. The 65 and older age group has the highest total number of deaths with 7,223 reported.

Hinds County is reporting the highest number of cases in the state, with 36,307 to date. Harrison County follows with 35,987 and DeSoto County with 35,831 cases. Jackson County is reporting 25,614 cases and Rankin County has 24,292 total cases.

Jackson metro area cases as of Dec. 30, deaths since March 2020

Hinds County

Daily number of new deaths: 0

Daily number of new cases: 692

Total deaths: 654

Total cases: 36,307

Madison County

Daily number of new deaths: 0

Daily number of new cases: 204

Total deaths: 283

Total cases: 16,239

Rankin County

Daily number of new deaths: 0

Daily number of new cases: 312

Total deaths: 409

Total cases: 24,292

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