Miss. health officer says DeSoto County should be on high alert

Watch: Miss. health officer says DeSoto County should be on high alert

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Mississippi’s State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs gave a warning Wednesday to the people of DeSoto County.

“It can go down or go up,” Dr. Dobbs said. “We’re worried we’re going up and want to really encourage everybody to be safe right now.”

During his visit to the health department in Hernando, Dr. Dobbs said the county should be on high alert.

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According to the state health department, for the period of September 21 to 27, DeSoto County had 175 new cases of COVID-19.

It was the most in any county in Mississippi.

Dr. Dobbs says the 9% positivity rate is also higher than average. He says this shows a significant amount of transmission.

“We’ve got to follow that over time to see a trend,” he said. “But it’s something we’re watching very closely. We’re very concerned if we’re going to be seeing a resurgence like we saw back in the summer.”

DeSoto County has seen just under 6,000 cases with 71 deaths. Dr. Dobbs says there has been a decline in case burden and mortality.

He advises everyone to wear face coverings.

The mask mandate was just lifted a week ago. Dr. Dobbs says it’s too early to attribute any new cases to this, but it could have an impact.

“We certainly wouldn’t advise to lift the mandate,” he said. “We advise for everybody to wear a mask and whatever the most effective way to achieve that goal collectively is what we want.”

Dr. Dobbs had a message for young people as well, considering a large portion of cases from June to September came from the 25-39-year-old group.

“Even young and healthy people can get Coronavirus and die,” he said. “So we shouldn’t live under the myth that it’s only a thing for old people or only a thing for people who have chronic medical conditions.”

Dr. Dobbs says the start of fall means a critical point in the fight against COVID. He says a bad flu season can fill up hospital ICU beds and that this virus adds another possible layer of challenges.

“It’s hard to envision what it would be like if we had flu and COVID at high levels overwhelming our healthcare system,” he said.

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