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Clay Walker, with the Lewisburg Volunteer Fire Department, provides a free mask during a recent countywide mask giveaway. Officials continue urging mask usage as case numbers continue to rise in DeSoto County.  

Mississippi Wednesday saw another day of skyrocketing positive case numbers and new death reports that have jumped the total number of COVID-19-related fatalities in the state to over the 1,000 mark. 

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has now reported 1,011 deaths, or 22 more from coronavirus and 23,424 positive cases, a growth of 526 cases.

Meanwhile, case numbers in DeSoto County shot up Wednesday by 42 to a total of 990 cases for the pandemic. The death count from the virus in the county remained at 15. The latest reported death in DeSoto County came in Tuesday’s update.

One of the newest reported positive cases came from the McDonald’s restaurant in Horn Lake at Highway 51 and Goodman Road West. Media reports indicated an employee of the restaurant had been tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from the restaurant owner.

The restaurant was being deep cleaned and any staff member who had come in close contact with the employee was asked to quarantine for 14 days before coming back to work.

Employee temperature and wellness checks, along with mask and glove requirements are now part of the routine.

Statewide hospitalizations for coronavirus grew to 523 confirmed infections and the number of suspected infected spiked upward Wednesday to 244. Patients being treated in an intensive care unit for coronavirus number 157 and the number of patients in Mississippi on ventilators are at 91.

DeSoto County EMS Director Mark Davis, who regularly checks with Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto and Methodist-Olive Branch Hospital about how the virus is affecting their facilities, said both hospitals remain steady in their bed counts for coronavirus.

“Right now, both of the hospitals are steady,” Davis said. “They’ve had about the same number the last 10 days to two weeks, but they are steady at this time.”

Davis said more testing is discovering more cases for coronavirus.

“We’re doing a lot more testing and we’ve opened up to just not testing people who are showing some kind of symptoms,” Davis said. “The two hospitals are doing more than 400 tests a day this last week. If you do more tests, you will find more positives.”

Davis added that more positive cases are being found in people who didn’t step forward with the listed symptoms of coughing, fever, and such.

“We’ve seen more asymptomatic cases, not showing any symptoms,” said Davis. “That’s a little concerning but it’s just more reason that people if they’re out in public in close proximity with people or if they’re gathered together that they wear masks. If you’re out in public and you’re able to social distance that you do.”

Walmart announced this week it is providing a testing availability at its Horn Lake Walmart Neighborhood Market at 2401 Goodman Road West. A drive-through testing window at the store’s drive-through pharmacy window on Tuesdays and Thursdays is made available between 7:45-8:45 a.m. only. Walmart and Quest Diagnostics is supporting the testing, which is made available for adults who meets CDC and state and local guidelines on who should be tested, including first responders, health care providers and others with symptoms of COVID-19. Please note, testing is not available inside the store.

Those who wish to be tested must have an appointment through Quest’s MyQuestTM online portal and app, www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com, which will screen and schedule appointments for those individuals that meet medical eligibility for the testing sites.

Once on site, those being tested will need to wear a mask and stay in their cars for verification of eligibility criteria, ID check and self-administered test. For the safety of all those on-site, the test site is not available to those who walk up.