No cases of COVID-19 Delta strain reported in Lafayette County as cases rise in state
While cases of the Delta variant strain of COVID-19 are quickly rising throughout Mississippi, Lafayette County is one of several counties that have yet to report one.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) spoke to the media on Tuesday about the recent surge of the Delta strain in the state and urged residents to take precautions leading up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
There are 78 reported cases of the Delta strain in Mississippi, which is the second-highest total of variant strains in the state behind the 669 reported cases of the Alpha strain (B.1.1.7) out of the United Kingdom. Last week, Mississippi reported only 29 total cases of the Delta strain.
The cases currently seem to be contained in central Mississippi as Hinds County has the highest number of reported cases of the Delta strain, which originated in India, with 44. The next highest total of cases is in Madison County with 16 reported.
“I would say that (the Delta strain) is now the dominant strain in Mississippi,” said state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Neighboring Marshall, Panola, Pontotoc and Yalobusha Counties have also not reported cases of the Delta strain. There is one case in north Mississippi, which was reported in DeSoto County.
Lafayette County county has reported a total of 12 variant COVID-19 cases with 11 of them being the Alpha strain and one case being the Epsilon strain (B.1.427) out of California.
State epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers noted on Tuesday that the best way to slow down, or stop, the strains from spreading is to get vaccinated. Vaccination numbers in Mississippi have stalled over the last month with around 36 percent of the state’s population fully vaccinated compared to 46 percent of the total US population that is fully vaccinated.
“It feels very reminiscent of where we were in an earlier part of the pandemic, really about this time last year, when we were starting to see outbreaks among group settings with a lot of transmission because we had a lot of susceptible people,” Byers said. “It feels like we’re in the same situation now with the Delta variant and the rapidity of its spread, especially among the unvaccinated individuals.”
As of June 29, 42 percent of Lafayette County’s population was fully vaccinated with with over 22,500 residents having received both doses. Over 24,000 Lafayette County residents, or 44 percent, have received at least one shot, including the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Yalobusha County has the second-highest rate of fully vaccinated residents in Mississippi with 43 percent (5,226) having received both doses. Madison County continues to lead the state with 44 percent of its residents fully vaccinated.
Lafayette County is now offering the vaccine at the Oxford Conference Center as a walk-up clinic. Appointments for first doses can be made at covidvaccine.umc.edu.