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COVID-19 cases increasing again in Mississippi

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 7:27 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You may not be paying attention to the daily case counts as much as you did two years ago. But COVID is still here, and the cases are going up.

One doctor noted they think there’s a wider net being cast with testing right now. Because not that long ago, folks were discounting feeling crummy, chalking it up to allergies with pollen and everything in bloom.

The numbers are nowhere close to what we’ve seen at other waves of the pandemic. Still, doctors are noticing that now-familiar shift.

“Definitely over the past two and a half weeks, we’ve seen an increase in positive cases and an increase in contacts that have had to come in to be tested,” said Dr. Catherine Phillippi, TrustCare Kids Pediatrician.

“We’ve seen a few positives where we had gone weeks without seeing a case,” noted Dr. Laura Miller, a family physician in Prentiss.

“We’ve been seeing this for about a month,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Medical Director of Infectious Disease.

Cases are climbing quickly. The New York Times comparisons show Mississippi’s cases have increased by 279 percent from the average two weeks ago. That’s a higher percentage change than anywhere else in the country.

“There are many people who suggest that there are five to 10 times as many cases in our community as you read about from public health sources simply because so many people now, the vast majority, I think, are not calling up the health department to tell them that their rapid test that they did in their living room is positive,” added Dr. Threlkeld.

As a reminder, you can report those at-home tests to the Mississippi Department of Health right on their website. But what about how to prevent infection as numbers rise?

“So we’re sort of in this area where we are transitioning from the fear that we had two years ago to how do we live in manage with this,” said Dr. Miller. “We certainly want to protect the vulnerable. We want to make smart decisions.”

Chief among those smart decisions is getting up to date on your vaccines. Just today, it was announced that 5 to 11-year-olds are eligible for a Pfizer booster dose.

“I feel like it’s gonna afford such freedom and lack of worry and fear as we let kids do what kids need to do, go to camp, go on vacation, be at gatherings, go to birthday parties,” said Dr. Phillippi. “I feel like this is a very timely release of the vaccine. And from what I’ve read, it looks like Pfizer actually proved that children who have received a boost are 36 times more protected than just the average immunized patient.”

As a reminder, if you’re over 50 or immunocompromised, you are eligible for a second booster dose. That’s if your first booster shot was at least four months ago.

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