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Coronavirus cases rise as holidays approach, health officials say take precautions
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Lab Technician tests samples for COVID 19
Miss. Department of Health

Coronavirus cases in Mississippi are rising and health officials are concerned about the rate of infections especially as the holiday season approaches.

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The Mississippi Department of Health reports 1,612 cases and eight deaths Thursday. The department says some of those cases were backlogged. But they say the majority of them occurred this week. Dr. Claude Brunson is Executive Director of the Mississippi Medical Association. He says it'll take another statewide mask mandate like the one in August, to curb the rising rate.

“Before we got to the statewide mandate, we went through a series of adding on counties and that helped a little bit but it wasn’t until we got to a statewide mask mandate, that we really saw numbers start to fall as far as the number of cases and that’s what it’s going to take now,” said Brunson.

Several weeks ago the governor placed 16 counties under a mask mandate, including Benton, Harrison, Madison and Neshoba Counties. Tim Moore, President of the Mississippi Hospital Association says hospitals aren’t seeing a rise in ICU admissions due to the coronavirus, but he says people have to take precautions during the holidays.

“And we’re all going to want to get our families together. We’re going to want to come from different areas of the country, different areas of the communities and if we don’t practice at least distancing in that we are going to explode,” said Moore.

Moore says people have to take the coronavirus threat seriously by wearing a mask, washing their hands and not being in crowds. The Mississippi health department reports a total of nearly 124,000 cases of COVID 19 in the state and 3,400 have died from the virus.