Coroner reports first coronavirus death in Southwest Mississippi

Published 4:12 pm Saturday, March 28, 2020

A southwest Mississippi man died from the COVID-19 coronavirus in Natchez Saturday morning.

Adams County Coroner James Lee said he was called to Merit Health Natchez Saturday morning after the man died in the hospital.

Lee said the man was 49-years-old and lived near the Wilkinson County/Amite County line. Lee said he was not sure which county the man lived in.

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The Mississippi State Department of Health uses the person’s record of residence to track COVID-19 cases and deaths. Saturday morning’s death will not be included in MSDH’s official numbers until Sunday.

Officials from the hospital confirmed the death in a statement Saturday.

“Despite our team’s clinical treatment and interventions, an individual we have been treating for COVID-19 has died. We are saddened by this loss and appreciate the valiant work done by the caregiving team and extend our deepest sympathies to the patient’s family and loved ones,” the statement said. “While we have worked hard and prayed that no death from COVID-19 would occur, sadly, we knew this was possible for some patients who become very ill after contracting the virus.”

Lee said the case is the first COVID-19 death he has investigated in the county.

“It is a very serious virus,” Lee said. “We all need to be doing what should be doing to prevent the spread of this disease.”

The hospital said the novel coronavirus can cause illness “through damage to the lungs and subsequent impact on other organs and sepsis.”

Older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable, the hospital said.

“We strongly urge all members of our community to engage in social distancing and consistent attention to hand hygiene, which are the best ways at this moment to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the hospital said. “It is important to self-isolate not only to protect at-risk, aging populations, but also to ensure our health care workers can remain healthy and available to deliver care.”

On Saturday, MSDH reported 663 confirmed cases and 13 deaths from the virus. Eleven of those cases are in Wilkinson County and one case is reported in Amite County. Six cases are reported in Adams County.