Three more individuals have died of COVID-19 in Leflore County, pushing the total to 30.
One of the victims of the respiratory disease, a woman in her 40s with underlying health problems, died Monday at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, according to Christine Hemphill, a hospital spokeswoman.
The other two — both residents of long-term care facilities — did not die at the hospital, Hemphill said.
All three were African American, as have been all but one of those who have died from the virus in Leflore County.
The latest deaths were reported Wednesday by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
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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, and the number of deaths have been rising steadily in them.
Mississippi Today has documented the trend lines. When death data was first released by the Department of Health, long-term care facility residents accounted for 10 percent of cases and a third of all deaths, the online news organization reported. Now, while cases among residents have only grown to 13 percent of all cases, they account for more than half of all deaths.
In Leflore County, 17 of its 30 deaths, or 57 percent, have involved residents of long-term care facilities. In Carroll County, the figure is 80% — eight out of 10 deaths.
Mississippi’s 211 nursing homes are in the process of conducting state-ordered testing for COVID-19 of all of their residents and employees — some 27,000 individuals.
So far in the Greenwood area, only one nursing home has released the results of that testing. Golden Age reported Tuesday that 24 residents and eight employees tested positive for the virus. The majority of residents, though, were not showing symptoms of the illness, according to Nay Reed, the nursing home’s administrator.
Carroll County’s only nursing home, Vaiden Community Living Center, no longer has an active outbreak, according to the data released Wednesday by the Department of Health. The 60-bed nursing home had been the site of a serious spread of the infection, with eight of its residents dying from COVID-19 and at one point two dozen of its employees having to self-quarantine.
Leflore County has experienced the fifth-most COVID-19 deaths of the state’s 82 counties. Lauderdale County has the most with 57, followed by Forrest County with 37.
As of Wednesday morning, Greenwood Leflore Hospital was treating eight patients with the virus in its COVID-19 unit, Hemphill said. One of the patients is on a ventilator to help the patient breathe.
There were 313 new cases and 18 new deaths added to Mississippi’s totals Wednesday.
The state has confirmed more than 14,000 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began, and it has recorded 670 deaths.