Leflore and Carroll counties have each had another resident of a long-term care facility die of COVID-19.
The deaths bring the total death count from the respiratory disease to 24 in Leflore County and nine in Carroll County.
The deaths were reported in Thursday’s update by the Mississippi State Department of Health. Both of the victims were African American.
The Leflore County resident is believed to be a man in his 60s who died Tuesday at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Christine Hemphill. He had another health complication, she said.
Because there is a time lag, occasionally as long as several days, between when a death occurs and when the Department of Health reports it, matching its announcement to the hospital’s log of deaths can be difficult.
Hemphill said, though, that the Carroll County resident did not die at the Greenwood hospital.
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For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are particularly vulnerable.
In Carroll County, long-term care facilities have accounted for 78% of its COVID-19 deaths; in Leflore County, the number is 50%. Each has had at least one nursing home with a major outbreak — Vaiden Community Living Center in Carroll County, and Crystal Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Leflore County.
Statewide, the number of deaths from COVID-19 at long-term care facilities has been steadily rising and now represents half of the total.
Mississippi is in the process of testing all residents and staff at long-term care facilities for the virus.
Currently, 98 long-term care facilities in the state have at least one active case of COVID-19. Leflore County has two facilities on the list, according to the Department of Health’s latest count, and Carroll County just the nursing home in Vaiden.
Leflore County is tied with Hinds County for the fifth-most COVID-19 deaths among the state’s 82 counties. Lauderdale County leads with 47 deaths, followed by Forrest County with 32.
As of Thursday morning, Greenwood Leflore Hospital was treating eight patients with the virus in its COVID-19 unit. One of the patients was on a ventilator to help the patient breathe.
There were 255 new cases and 10 new deaths added to Mississippi’s totals Thursday. The state has confirmed more than 12,200 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March, and it has recorded 580 deaths.