JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) is reporting the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Mississippi.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, MSDH reported 79 new deaths that State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs says were unnecessary.
“I’m gonna give you a sample of the people we’ve lost from COVID that did not have to die,” Dobbs said. “62-year-old white female, 56-year-old black male,” Dobbs said as he continued listing people who have recently died from the virus.
The fastest growth of cases is among people between the ages of 25-39 and 50-64, MSDH says.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers attended the news conference with Dobbs, strongly advising anyone over 65 not to attend in-person worship services during the holidays.
“We’re seeing exposure in churches, sporting events, and social gatherings,” Byers said.
MSDH is also reporting a new record of 234 current outbreaks in long-term care facilities.
“These numbers are astounding. Long-term care settings have been hit hard,” Dobbs said. “They are making heroic efforts to care for those residents and keep COVID out as much as possible,” Byers added.
Mississippi Department of Health now has 50,000 Moderna doses that will be distributed this week.
So far, MSDH says 12,600 Pfizer doses have been delivered to five major health systems in Mississippi. This week, the state health agency is sending Moderna doses to all other hospitals.
Dozens of CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and private clinics across the state will also assist MSDH with vaccinations, Byers said.
Even major hospitals have volunteered to help vaccinate other health care workers outside their organization.
Dobbs and Byers said the state has seen 6,000 more deaths than last year and, based on their predictions could be on track to surpass 1,000 COVID-19 deaths this month.
“I think we are on track, unfortunately, to surpass 1,000 deaths this month if you consider that we’re ramping up quickly,” Dobbs said. “We predicted that this could be happening and all you have to do is have about 30 deaths per day and you can overcome 1,000. These are 1,000 people that could be with us next year.”
MSDH is asking everyone to follow their holiday guidelines for gatherings.