DeSoto County reported a jump in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the county and are continuing to see a large demand for testing requests.
Emergency Services Director Mark Davis told the Board of County Supervisors on Monday during its first meeting of 2022 that there has been a spike in new cases being reported.
Davis said according to Mississippi State Department of Health’s latest numbers covering December 23-28, there are 35,831 total cases - up 1,787 since the last board meeting. There are currently 1,911 active cases - an increase of 1,400 since the last meeting. Deaths from COVID-19 in the county now stands at 444 - up four from the last report.
Looking at the 14 day trend, Davis said cases are up by 804, while the 7-day trend is up by 176 cases.
“If you look at the daily totals on cases, you see there is quite a big jump there,” Davis said.
Last week, DeSoto County set a record for most cases reported in a single day with 337 new cases on December 28, breaking the one day record of 257 new cases set on August 27.
“We are seeing a large uptick as far as positive cases go,” Davis said.
District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner said Methodist Hospital DeSoto and Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto are both experiencing a nursing shortage. He asked Davis whether the state had any plans to bring in more out-of-state nursing help like they did during the height of the pandemic when the delta variant led to a surge in new cases and hospitalizations.
“I know they are short-handed,” Gardner said.
Davis said both the state and the county were under a state of emergency at that time which allowed the state to contact with FEMA for out-of-state nurses to come in and assist with COVID cases.
Currently, there is no state of emergency.
“Those were done with FEMA,” Davis said. “It has to be a state of emergency for those outside nurses to come in and work. The state is not under a state of emergency now, and the county is not under a state of emergency. So the rules are different as far as the state providing nurses for the hospitals.”
Davis said the county health department at 3212 Highway 51 South in Hernando is offering free COVID tests, but appointments have been in high demand and fill up fast. Last week, MSDH opened a second testing site at the Community Safe Room in Southaven located at 7312 Hwy. 51 North, which should allow the county to increase testing to 300 to 500 a day.
“We were staying booked up,” Davis said. “So they are trying to expand those some.”
As of Monday, there were no appointments available at either location until Wednesday. Gardner urged residents to keep checking back.
“If people cancel, they will load those appointments back in there,” Gardner said. “I had a family member who tested positive last week and she was trying to get the test and there were none available. She kept watching it and one opened up and we jumped on it. So as people cancel their appointment, there might be one that opened up today or tomorrow.”
To make an appointment call (601) 496-7200 Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit https://covidschedule.umc.edu