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Lafayette County reports record numbers of COVID-19 cases last week

The entire nation is experiencing an autumn surge of COVID-19 cases, and Lafayette County reported some of its highest numbers last week.

Last Friday, Lafayette County reported 93 new cases for a new daily high in the county since the pandemic struck Mississippi in March. On Saturday, there were 46 new cases reported in Lafayette County.

During a work session for the Oxford Board of Aldermen on Monday, Oxford emergency management director Jimmy Allgood told the Board that the large number of cases reported on those days were not data dumps or local labs catching up on a backlog of tests, but were new, active cases.

Allgood attributed it to several factors, including an outbreak in the Lafayette County School District as well as social gatherings beginning to be an issue for community transmission again throughout Oxford and the county.

“These are mostly current cases for about 95 percent of them,” Allgood said. “It wasn’t a lab playing catch-up.”

On Sunday and Monday, Lafayette County reported 13 new cases each day, which was around the average daily number of cases before the most recent spike.

As of Nov. 20, Lafayette County had 239 active cases and a total of 3,133 since March 19. There have been a total of 47 deaths reported as COVID-related in Lafayette County as well.

Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi has continued to not be overwhelmed with patients and have available beds. As of Nov. 22, the hospital had a total of 25 available staffed beds out of 181, and 50 patients with confirmed COVID-19. In the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, there were eight available adult ICU beds out of 24 and seven ICU patients with COVID-19.

“We’ve known since the beginning it was going to be a marathon and not a sprint,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “I think we just have to encourage people to not back off. Be diligent in wearing your mask and wash your hands. Especially over the holiday week when social gatherings are always more predominant. Just encourage you to try and gather outside as much as possible.”