Oxford amid rising COVID-19 and RSV cases in the southeast

Published 6:00 pm Friday, October 6, 2023

As the bustling Ole Miss football season sweeps through Oxford, the city is nestled within a Southeast region experiencing a pronounced uptick in COVID-19 cases. Recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 4 Office, headquartered in Atlanta, underscores this trend, which spans states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Concurrently, the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) shows a similar surge.

COVID-19 Trends in the Southeast


Most Recent Positive COVID tests and rate of change in positive cases.

Over the past 16 weeks, the Southeast has seen fluctuating numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. The first eight-week period this spring reported an average of 47 daily cases, but this figure skyrocketed to 134 in the most recent eight weeks. This alarming leap signifies an eye-catching 185.81% increase in the daily average of positive cases, meaning that the region has seen nearly three times the daily cases recently compared to earlier data.

Email newsletter signup


Correlation Between COVID-19 and Flu Cases


Chart Trends from HHS Data

Amidst these numbers, an intriguing observation surfaces: a subtle decline in flu cases as COVID-19 cases rise. This negative correlation between the two could be attributed to numerous factors. Precautions aimed at curtailing COVID-19 might inadvertently stifle the flu. Alternatively, a transient immune reaction against one virus might suppress the other. However, pinpointing the precise cause demands more profound research.

Impact on the City of Oxford

As Oxford navigates these trends, recent developments within the city have noted the specter of COVID-19. A memo in its agenda for the October 9 City Planner’s Meeting noted, “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Planning Commission meetings are facilitated in-person and remotely via Microsoft Teams.” This reflects the ongoing adaptability and vigilance within the community to mitigate the pandemic’s effects.

Protective Measures for Oxford Community

Specific protective measures can benefit the Oxford community, especially those attending Ole Miss games and other events. Vigilant handwashing with soap and water, especially after public interactions or surface contact, is a primary defense. When this is impossible, a hand sanitizer having at least 60% alcohol proves handy. Other recommended precautions are donning masks in populated areas, ensuring a safe distance from others, refraining from face-touching, and opting to stay home when unwell.

Projection for COVID-19 Cases

Projecting forward, the Southeast might expect daily COVID-19 cases to alternate between 154 and 207 in the upcoming weeks. While this presents a broader regional perspective, Oxford’s populace is encouraged to remain informed, given its vibrant community events.

This snapshot offers Oxford and the extended Southeast an overview of the possible current health landscape, shedding light on recent health trends and potential trajectories. These predictions are based on data gathered over time; sometimes there are gaps or missing or incomplete data. Regardless, the data from this year and historical data trends help make educated guesses to approximate what the bigger picture is and could still become. Good hygiene practices like frequent handwashing and staying home from school and work when you are feeling ill or running a fever help change projections and keep diseases from spreading as fast or as far.

Click here view the Planning Commission Agenda with the memo mentioning COVID. Click on the link title Memo 10-09 under “A. October Planning Commission Memorandum” and it will download a Word document for you to read.

To access the precise data used you may visit the CDC website where it is hosted here