Coronavirus cases grow in Mississippi schools, colleges are greater concern, health official says

Published 10:16 pm Monday, August 10, 2020

Schools across Mississippi continue to open and cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus continue to be found, the state reported Monday.

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said 22 different schools had reported cases of coronavirus cases in students and staff.

“(That’s) not a surprise because we know coronavirus exists pretty widespread in our communities right now,” Dobbs said.

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He said that early Monday approximately 19 students and 15 school employees across districts that had reopened were found to have tested positive for coronavirus.

Later in the day officials with the Corinth School District reported two additional students and one staff member at Corinth High School, bringing that school’s total to 10 cases, nine students and one employee. The district earlier had reported a student and employee had tested positive at different schools in the district as well.

Corinth was the first district to reopen in Mississippi.

Although the increased cases in K-12 schools are not good, Dobbs said his greater worry about virus spread is coming from colleges and Mississippi’s college towns.

“Of course we’re very concerned about increased cases with people getting back in close proximity, that’s a risk,” he said. “I’m actually a good bit more worried about the colleges. and that driving up the case rate.”

Dobbs said the universities can control what happens in classrooms, but his concern is with social behaviors of college students.

“I got a disturbing report today that move-in day a bunch of folks were walking about on campus without masks, having fun, clustering up,” Dobbs said. “We’ll need to be very conscientious about what’s going on in college towns. That’s really where our greatest vulnerability is.”

Gov. Tate Reeves said he would make a decision soon regarding how the state would allow high school football to be played.

He said the state would not allow thousands of people to fill the stands, however, but said exact details would be coming in the next several days.