Eight new virus cases noted in county as of Tuesday, Dec. 21

by Sean Dunlap

Franklin County’s coronavirus number showed an increase of eight cases over the past week ending Tuesday, Dec. 21, according to the Mississippi Department of Health.

The cumulative number of infections — dating back to the start of the pandemic in March, 2020 — stands at 1,283 locally.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1,275 coronavirus cases had been counted in the area since the viral outbreak began.

Across all 82 of Mississippi’s counties, the virus has infected 523,889 residents, which is based on tallies provided by the state health agency.

The county’s death toll tied to the COVID-19 illness also grew by one during the past week — bring the total number of fatalities in Franklin County to 31.

Eighteen of those who have died here have been identified as Black or African American while 13 deaths were those who were identified as Caucasian.

Statewide, the death toll has grown to 10,364 as of Tuesday, Dec. 21.

In other virus news, health officials have reported at least two known cases of the Omicron variant in the Magnolia State to date.

Dr. Paul Byers, who serves as state epidemiologist, urges residents to take the newest strain of the coronavirus seriously.

“We’ve had a couple of cases of Omicron so far, but we haven’t seen a big explosion yet,” Byers said.

“The thing we need to keep in mind is if we do have a sudden increase in the overall number of cases, we will have vulnerable people who are hospitalized, and if we have a whole, whole lot of cases, it’s going to lead to more pressure on the health care system and might lead to more deaths.”

Byers urged residents that have not done so to get vaccinated against coronavirus or seek a booster immunization if they received their last shot beyond the recommended time frame.

“We don’t want to wait until we are in a really bad position again,” he said. “I think we have a chance to try to get folks vaccinated now.”

The Department of Health suggests Mississippians who are age 18 and older are eligible for a booster dose if their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine was at least six months ago. Individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson shot are eligible if their vaccine was administered at least two months ago.

Those eligible can receive a booster of any type of vaccine.

Franklin County Memorial Hospital in Meadville is administering COVID-19 shots and boosters on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

To schedule an appointment for a vaccination through the hospital, call 601-384-8264.