As Mississippi’s vaccination rate remains tied for last in the country with Alabama at 33.9%, the State Department of Health is reporting more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since February 14th.
Today’s report of 1,199 new cases brings the state’s total up to 331,863 and with 9 additional deaths, 7,494 Mississippians have passed away from the virus.
As cases, hospitalizations and other indicators rise, health officials have warned that the dreaded fourth wave of the pandemic has arrived. While the state continues to fight vaccine hesitancy, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs did tweet some encouraging news on the vaccine front.
Vaccination numbers up this week – and on track to be higher this week. Just heard from immunization dept that we are inundated with orders from docs and clinics.
Thank you MS docs and providers!
Please be safe, everyone.
— thomas dobbs (@TCBPubHealth) July 22, 2021
Dr. Dobbs also tweeted a link to a study that shows that the vaccine remains highly effective against the Delta variant, which has become the dominant strain in Mississippi and across the nation.
Active outbreaks in Mississippi long-term care facilities have seen a large rise in recent weeks, increasing from 12 in late June to 57 in today’s report. Currently, there is no plan to scale back on visitation in these facilities, but officials continue to urge employees to get vaccinated to better protect against outbreaks.
“At this time, neither CDC or CMS has changed their stance on long term care visitation recommendations. Facilities are managing visitation quite well based on the current guidelines and testing requirements with many using unique approaches to ensure the safety of their residents. The hurdle they face is the fact that employee vaccination rates in these facilities are quite low overall. Until these reach higher levels we will continue to see active outbreaks,” Melissa Parker, Director of Licensure and Certification with MSDH, said.
MSDH continues to recommend that all Mississippians over the age of 65 and the immunocompromised avoid large indoor gatherings.