Three of thirteen counties initially hit with mask mandates show downward trend of coronavirus cases
Officials caution that state's case trends will not reflect greater restrictions yet
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A 3 On Your Side analysis of thirteen Mississippi counties initially pegged with mask mandates shows fewer new cases and a downward trend in three of them, according to data from the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The seven-day average of new cases in Claiborne, Grenada and Jefferson counties -- placed under greater restrictions eight days ago by Gov. Tate Reeves -- appears to have peaked.
It’s unlikely that the recent drop in cases comes as a result of the governor’s restrictions, though, because Reeves said last week that the public wouldn’t see results from the mask mandates and social gathering requirements for at least two weeks.
Data shows three other counties on the initial list of thirteen also appear to be plateauing: DeSoto, Harrison and Madison, though Madison’s average continues to trend upward.
Hinds County reached a new seven-day average Tuesday of more than one hundred cases; in fact, Hinds has had over a hundred new cases in five of the last seven days.
Rankin and Washington counties have experienced significant increases in a short period of time -- ten days -- indicating those areas remain a hot spot for community spread.
At the same time, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has warned repeatedly that more cases would come this week as a result of July 4 celebrations across the state, so these county-by-county observations may be short-lived.
“There’s a price for everything. There’s no free lunch. We’re paying the price for what happened on the Fourth of July right now and we’re gonna pay the price for what’s happening right now three or four weeks from now,” Dobbs said Monday. “I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to get pictures and notifications of restaurants where people aren’t social distancing or they’re having huge parties, young people are having fun with no masks like there’s no tomorrow, social gatherings, block parties, athletic events with large groups.”
While it’s unclear what’s causing drops in those three counties, Dobbs maintains that Mississippians cannot be complacent right now.
“If we don’t see a decrease in transmission immediately, then it’s pretty likely the health care system’s going to be thoroughly overwhelmed, and I know sometimes it seems like I’m doomsday, but how many weeks ago did we say we were gonna have a lot of hospitalizations?” Dobbs said. “How many weeks ago did we say we were gonna have more deaths? How many weeks ago did we say we were gonna run out of ICU beds? It’s happening.”
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