The coronavirus has given Leflore County its first death.
A male patient who had tested positive for COVID-19 died Sunday morning at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, according to Coroner Debra Sanders.
He was one of 18 people in Leflore County who have tested positive for the respiratory disease since the outbreak began earlier this month.
“The patient was in the 70s and had multiple complications,” said Christine Hemphill, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
The hospital has created a special 16-bed unit to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. Four of the beds are equipped for intensive care treatment.
As of Monday morning, there were six patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 being treated in the unit and two others under investigation for the virus.
Most people infected with the coronavirus only get mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover in weeks. Many, however, will need hospitalization. Those most vulnerable to getting severely ill from the virus are older adults and those with existing health problems, who can develop severe complications such as pneumonia.
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Statewide, there have been 847 cases of the coronavirus and 16 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Mississippi State Department of Health. Carroll County reported its first coronavirus case this weekend.
Although most of the deaths have involved individuals 60 years or older, two of the deaths this weekend were of people in the age range of 40 to 49.
The Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center will be opening Tuesday a one-day drive-through site in Greenwood to test those who are showing symptoms of the illness that has claimed so far more than 2,500 deaths nationwide.
The sample collection site will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Leflore County Civic Center on Mississippi 7.
The drive-through testing in Greenwood is free of charge but by appointment only.
Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 — fever, cough or shortness of breath — who feels they should be tested must first go through a free screening by a UMMC clinician through a smartphone app, the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage app. Those without a smartphone can call 601-496-7200.
Those identified during the screening as high risk for having the coronavirus will receive an appointment to be tested Tuesday at the Civic Center site. At the site, they will give a specimen sample, via a nose swab, without exiting their vehicle. UMMC will later notify those tested of the results.
The health officials ask that only those showing symptoms use the C Spire Health app or call.