MSDH: All nursing home residents, staff have been tested for COVID-19

Mecklenburg County health officials confirmed Wednesday they have confirmed outbreaks at two...
Mecklenburg County health officials confirmed Wednesday they have confirmed outbreaks at two nursing home facilities and investigating a possible third.(Pixabay (custom credit) | Pixabay)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 3:39 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Department of Health announced Thursday that all residents and staff of the 211 nursing homes in Mississippi have been tested for COVID-19.

A total of 13,911 residents and 17,324 staff members of Mississippi nursing homes were tested during the last two weeks of May after President Donald Trump encouraged states to test all nursing home residents and staff.

Nursing homes residents are considered a high-risk population because of their age and poor health, and the MSDH considers even one case in a facility to be an outbreak.

“We have been tracking outbreaks in nursing homes since we saw our first COVID case in Mississippi on March 11,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “That has been a very vulnerable population that has shown to be more susceptible to severe illness and death from COVID.”

The Mississippi Public Health Lab and the University of Mississippi Medical Center tested a total of 26,549 individuals and 676 of them tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Dobbs, many of the positive cases in residents of nursing homes presented only mild symptoms.

Testing at nursing homes was conducted by the MSDH with help from the Mississippi National Guard.

“We’ve been very fortunate to work with some incredible partners through the overall COVID response, and this is an example of how much we can accomplish when we work together,” Dobbs said.

The MSDH released the names of facilities and number of cases at each on June 3. Fifteen long-term care facilities in the Pine Belt were described as having active outbreaks by the department of health.

In the Pine Belt, the Bedford Care Center of Hattiesburg and the Care Center of Laurel were the hardest hit.

According to MSDH numbers, Bedford Care Center had reported 55 employee cases, 92 resident cases and 25 resident deaths as of June 2. The Care Center of Laurel reported 35 employee cases, 42 resident cases and 10 resident deaths as of June 2.

Another Jones County nursing home, Comfort Care Nursing Center, reported 22 employee cases, 18 resident cases and 6 resident deaths.

According to MSDH, this is the total number of deaths by county in Pine Belt long-term care facilities as of June 9:

  • Forrest County: 29
  • Jones County: 21
  • Lamar County: 2
  • Marion County: 2
  • Jefferson Davis: 1

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