Miss. native and assistant to the president, Dr. Fleming discusses state’s COVID-19 response

Miss. native and assistant to the president, Dr. Fleming discusses state’s COVID-19 response
Mississippi native and Assistant to the President for Planning ad Implementation Dr. John Fleming spoke with WLBT about the administration and the state's partnership on COVID-19 response. (Source: White House)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We’ve heard state leaders discuss their partnership with the president’s administration on COVID-19 response.

“The president is watching very closely what’s happening in Mississippi,” said the Assistant to the President for Planning and Implementation. “He gets briefings daily through the task force daily, as you know. I meet with the task force everyday. I, myself, am a physician, in fact trained right there in Jackson at the University.”

Fleming is optimistic about seeing some stabilization in numbers for Mississippi. As for whether testing is up to par?

“In some cases the turnaround time may be a little slower than we’d like but that seems to be improving, as well,” noted Fleming.

We asked about testing events like those that the Department of Health is partnering with CDC on where they are trying to test the whole community in Lexington, Mississippi.

“That’s what we call surveillance testing, not diagnostic testing,” explained Fleming. “But how do we know what the percentage of positivity is in any given community or state? The reason to monitor that is that gives us some guidance as to how we can relax further phases into the future. So, if the positivity rate spikes, we know we have to be careful about further openings.”

Here’s a look at the trends in test positivity. Mississippi is still the highest in the country.

“Positivity rates have actually, in the last few weeks, have been a bit high in Mississippi but they appear to be flattening and we’re seeing a downward trend,” added Fleming.

What about the vaccine?

“They’re in phase three testing now and hopefully soon we’ll be able to begin vaccines by the end of the year,” he said.

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