COVID cases up by 80 here


Compiled By Steve Swogetinsky

The Kemper Messenger

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Kemper County has increased by 80 this past week, according to statistics provided by the Mississippi Department of Health website.

Kemper County has 745 reported cases as of Monday, an increase of 70. The county has 19 reported deaths, the same last week.

Many local hospitals and private health clinics can now provide COVID-19 vaccinations to adults 75 years of age or older. Contact a provider directly to arrange for vaccination. According to the Health Department, the John C, Stennis Hospital is the local provider for Kemper County,

The Mississippi State Department of Health continues to receive and distribute both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to healthcare workers and the residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Vaccinating these groups protects our highest-risk population and helps ensure that the state's health system can continue to treat COVID-19 patients safely and protect all patients from COVID-19 infection.

As more vaccine arrives over the coming weeks, vaccinations will be expanded to other groups such as older adults, essential workers, and those with chronic diseases which raise their risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

While future vaccine shipments are hard to predict, vaccinations for the general public will probably not be available for several months. In the meantime, everyone should continue to adhere to safety guidelines such as social distancing to stop the increasing spread of COVID-19 in the state, including those who have been vaccinated.

Mississippi Vaccination Phases

Mississippi is following a phased approach to prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations. Each phase balances the protection of those most at risk from COVID-19 with the protection of those who maintain essential functions of the community such as healthcare, education, law enforcement, food supply and transportation.

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Like the flu, COVID-19 spreads person-to-person by close contact (within 6 feet) and by coughing or sneezing. COVID-19 may also spread by touching surfaces contaminated by the virus.

The number of new cases has continued to grow across the state. According to health department numbers, there were 18.280 new cases in Mississippi in the past week. There have been 241,957 cases reported in Mississippi since March and 5,284 reported deaths, an increase of 800 since last week.

If you are feeling unwell, you are urged to go and get tested. A site is set up in DeKalb at the old health department on Monday and Wednesday.

MSDH urgently recommends that all residents of Mississippi avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the immediate family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school or other absolutely essential activities, and avoid gatherings such as social events, sporting events, in-person church services, and weddings and funerals unless they involve only close family (preferably outdoors).

Gov. Tate Reeves in an executive order has included Kemper County on the list of counties with special restricts. Residents are limited to 10 people indoors, and 50 outdoors in situations where social distancing is not possible. Masks must be worn indoors in public places when a distance of six feet cannot be maintained between groups from different households. This order will expire January 15.

A county-wide mandate has been reissued by the Kemper County board of supervisors requiring that masks be worn in public. It goes through January 4. Anyone who violates the ordinance, upon conviction, could face a $500 fine and/or six months in jail.

The ordinance also closes county owned parks, walking trails and access to Kemper Lake.

Offices in the Courthouse will be operated with minimum staff and elected officials are encouraged to do as much business online as possible.

With the number of cases growing, health officials urged people to avoid large holiday gatherings during the Christmas season.

In order to protect the more vulnerable population, health department officials have strongly suggested that travel be avoided and for people to stay home.

People at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are adults 65 and over, those who are obese, those with a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, and anyone receiving treatments which may compromise their immune system.

According to the health department, these people should take precautions at all times to limit their exposure to others who may be ill:

Stay home as much as possible.

Limit your contact with others when you are away from home, especially in indoor settings.

Limit your contact with visitors and with other members of your household who are frequently in public places.

Keep more space (6 feet if possible) between you and others as you go through the day.

If you do go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, and practice consistent social distancing. Pay closer attention to hygiene and cleanliness.

Wash your hands often, especially after being in public places.

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