MSDH: Two Gulf Coast counties report highest number of COVID-19 cases among teachers, students

Data shows nearly 900 teachers, students have tested positive thus far since school districts returned
Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Schools in Jackson and Harrison counties have reported more coronavirus cases among teachers, staff and students, than any other county in Mississippi since children returned to class, according to newly-released data by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

The breakdown, posted Tuesday evening, lists Jackson County with 116 total positive cases -- including 83 students -- and Harrison County with 88 total cases -- with 60 from students.

The information, compiled by MSDH from data supplied by 720 schools around the state, represents 74 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, and includes new cases from the previous week, quarantine numbers and total cases since school began.

In the Jackson metro area, Rankin County has had more cases than Hinds or Madison.

Twenty-two people have tested positive in that county since school began, with six of those being students.

Hinds County has reported 16 people -- including two students -- contract and test positive for COVID-19.

Seven people -- all students -- have tested positive for coronavirus in Madison County thus far.

Pediatrician Dr. Geri Weiland said they’re expecting to see COVID-19 spread like the flu, meaning they could see waves of infection.

However, she has yet to see any serious cases thus far.

“In my experience, I have seen children with positive COVID, and I haven’t had to see anybody admitted yet. They have had very mild symptoms,” Weiland said.

The latest data from MSDH shows 8,412 children under the age of 18 have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began; of those, only 73 have been hospitalized, representing less than one percent of those cases.

While long-term effects from COVID on children have yet to be determined, Weiland said Kawasaki disease and the impact of COVID-19 on vital organs has been documented, though it is very rare.

What she’s most concerned with are infected children who wind up around someone particularly vulnerable to the disease.

“If the child comes home after school and grandma babysits, and grandma has hypertension, obesity, heart disease, then there’s more of a risk for that family member to get a significant problem with COVID that the child would not get,” Weiland said.

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