‘This is not over,’ Mississippi doctor warns rising coronavirus numbers likely to continue, urges people to get vaccinated

Published 2:02 pm Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Mississippi’s top health official warned Mississippians Wednesday that recent, sharp increases in cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus are likely to continue climbing due to low vaccination numbers and a quickly spreading Delta variant.

“Please understand that we are still seeing cases of COVID-19 in MS,” said Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “This is not over, and we will likely see continued increases in cases.”

Dobbs confirmed that through Tuesday’s statistics, seven Mississippi children infected with COVID-19 were in ICU beds and two of those children required mechanical ventilation to breathe. The ages of those children in ICU ranged from less than 1 to 17 years-old, Dobbs said.

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“Our vaccination rates for eligible children are low, and COVID can cause severe illness and hospitalization in children,” he said. “Now is the time for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.”

Dobbs said the rapidly rising cases — Mississippi’s two-week average of new cases as well as patients hospitalized with COVID have doubled in recent weeks — is due to the rapid expansion of the Delta variant of the virus.

“Delta is now the predominant strain circulating in the state, and accounts for most cases being identified at this point,” Dobbs said. “Between June 15th and July 9th the Delta variant accounted for 80% of all specimens sequenced.

“The best protection against the Delta variant is vaccination,” he said. “COVID-19 vaccine is approved for ages 12 and above and is widely available.

For information on vaccines, visit www.vaccines.gov or www.covidvaccine.umc.edu or call your primary care clinic to find a vaccination location near you.