Socially distanced classroom

The number of new COVID-19 cases and student quarantines saw a slight decrease last week in DeSoto County Schools.

The district reported 73 total new cases, with 43 students and 30 staff members testing positive for the virus.

Additionally, 406 students were quarantined last week following possible exposure, down from last week’s 508 new student quarantines.

Although the number of new cases was slightly less than those the week prior, the district was seeing the highest number of new cases since the beginning of the semester. For the first nine weeks, the district recorded some of the lowest numbers of cases per capita in the state. 

“We are continuing to reinforce COVID-19 guidelines on all of our campuses,” DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Cory Uselton said in an email. “When there are increases in quarantines on elementary campuses, that is often because one or more classes were quarantined because of staff members that tested positive for COVID-19.” 

This comes as COVID-19 is spreading through the county at a rate not seen since the summer. 607 new cases were reported around the county last week, with 187 new cases being one day last week.

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 at a “critical” level according to one model used by health experts, meaning that the county “is either actively experiencing an outbreak or is at extreme risk.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, DeSoto County has reported 8,229 cases and 84 deaths.

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