Classroom in the pandemic

After a week off for Thanksgiving, DeSoto County Schools reported a decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases and quarantines in students. The district reported 99 total new cases, with 66 students and 33 staff members testing positive for the virus.

Additionally, 369 students were quarantined last week following possible exposure, a decrease from the report from two weeks ago of 547 new student quarantines.

“We are encouraged that the number of positive student cases decreased this past week, but we know that those numbers could increase,” DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Cory Uselton said in an email. “We have to continue to be vigilant with our COVID-19 protocols.”

Though last week’s numbers were a slight improvement compared to weeks prior, new positive cases and quarantines have continued to climb in the district. For the first nine weeks, the district recorded some of the lowest numbers of cases per capita in the state. 

This comes as COVID-19 is spreading through the county faster than ever before and ICU capacities are being stretched, according to data from the state department of health.

DeSoto County now has reported more cases of COVID-19 since March than any other county in Mississippi.

Though some of those cases represent a backlog in reporting, most of them represent recent tests in the community, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

DeSoto County’s rate of transmission is nearly double the threshold of a “critical” community, according to one model used by health experts. This means the county “is either actively experiencing an outbreak or is at extreme risk.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, DeSoto County has reported 11,051 cases and 106 deaths. 

Still, the community faces faster spread of the virus than ever before.

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