North Mississippi elementary school teacher dies of COVID-19

Published 6:33 am Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Desoto County elementary teacher has died after a long battle with COVID-19.

Officials from the Desoto County School District confirmed the sad news to WREG-TV in Memphis Monday. The Hernando Elementary School teacher died after being hospitalized for weeks with COVID-19 and pneumonia. The teacher has not been identified by the school district, but the death has left the community reeling from the news.

Desoto County Schools have conducting school in-person for several weeks but has experienced several COVID outbreaks.  Monday’s update from DeSoto County Schools shows 81 students tested positive for the virus in the past week. The number almost doubled from last week, according to WREG_TV>

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Desoto County as a whole has had the most cases in the state. According to the Mississippi Department of Public Health, DeSoto County has recorded 8,300 positive COVID cases.

Desoto County has received a great deal of attention in recent days as county officials spar with Gov. Tate Reeves and the state’s top health officer about the severity of the virus in the region.

Reeves and Dr. Thomas Dobbs have expressed concerns about the rising case in Desoto County, enacting a mask mandate and pleading with the public to take the virus seriously.

Desoto County is among 22 counties with additional restrictions in place including wearing a mask and smaller limits on gatherings.

“What’s in the best interest of you and your family and all Mississippians, if you go out in public, wear a mask. Please wear a mask,” Reeves said. “The numbers are up week over week. The virus is not getting significantly better, in fact, it’s getting marginally worse. We’re seeing a lot of cases that have come after Halloween.”

Local officials in Desoto County have resisted. Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite blamed the rise on DeSoto’s proximity to Shelby County.

The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office has said they will not enforce the governor’s mandates.