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Lafayette County seeing new surge of COVID-19 cases

While Lafayette County is not seeing a high number of reported Delta variant cases of the COVID-19 virus, it is experiencing a slight surge in new cases.

Over the past week, Lafayette County has reported 68 new cases since Friday according to data from the Mississippi State Department of Health. On Thursday, MSDH reported 17 new cases for Lafayette County as of 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The total number of reported cases in Lafayette County since March of last year is 6,446 and 124 COVID-related deaths have been reported.

The recent jump in cases averages to nearly 10 new cases per day over the last seven days for Lafayette County.

“We are seeing the numbers go up slightly,” said Jimmy Allgood, Oxford’s emergency management director during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

As of July 18, there were nine COVID patients at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi with 27 available beds and zero COVID patients in the ICU, according to Allgood.

The new cases being reported daily are going up, but out of the 365 cases of the Delta variant reported in Mississippi only one has been reported in Lafayette County.

Hinds County has the highest number of Delta variant cases reported with 201. Neighboring counties Panola and Yalobusha do not have any Delta cases reported. Hinds County currently has 38 percent of its population fully vaccinated.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Thomas Dobbs cited all of the new cases of this “fourth wave” to the Delta variant, summer activities coming off the Fourth of July holiday and the low vaccination rates throughout the state.

“We’re going to have a rough few weeks,” Dobbs said.

As of Thursday, Lafayette County has 42 percent of it’s population (22,928) fully vaccinated, which is tied for the fourth best rate in the state. Madison County continues to be highest with 46 percent fully vaccinated. Yalobusha County has the second-highest rate with 45 percent of its population fully vaccinated.

There are 1,014,078 Mississippians who are fully vaccinated statewide with another 1,143,621 Mississippians who have received at least one dose, which includes the Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccination.

Dobbs said he is not going to ask Governor Tate Reeves to implement another mask mandate but noted people can choose to wear masks to help mitigate the spread and transmission of COVID-19, especially if not fully vaccinated.

“We have other tools available to us,” Dobbs said. “In all honesty, I think that the era of statewide mask mandates is probably over for the majority of the United States. And certainly, for us.”