The Mississippi Department of Health is reporting over 20,000 students in Mississippi’s K-12 schools who are quarantined after exposure to COVID-19

With schools having been open just a few weeks or days for some, the MSDH says they have 4,500 documented cases of covid among students spanning across 803 schools in the state. This number increased in just five days. In the last three weeks 5,993 students have tested positive for the virus.

Not only are students being impacted but MSDH reported on Wednesday, almost 1,500 faculty with infections since the beginning of August. To date, only 29 schools have signed up for weekly testing of symptomatic individuals and will receive the test kits to
administer themselves. However, an additional 46 schools in school are working with the department to implement testing.

You can view the MSDH’s most recent data on school reporting HERE.

While there is no mandate from the Governor’s office, 600 schools across Mississippi have implemented an indoor mask-wearing policy in an attempt to help decrease the spread of the virus and therefore hospitalizations.

The rise in school outbreaks prompted Smith County to close its schools for two weeks starting on Aug. 23, after the death of eighth-grade student Makayla Robinson.

However, according to the experts the Delta variant of the virus, which is sweeping across the state, has become more contagious to those groups who were not largely impacted by the original strain of 2020. This includes children, pregnant women and those who do not have underlying illnesses.

In August of 2020 there were only a reported 199 cases among students in K-12 and those cases never exceeded 5,000 until the end of the fall 2020 session.

“In the 2020 version of COVID-19, most children infected did not show symptoms that developed into serious health conditions. That’s not the case today, as nationally and in Mississippi, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is driving up the number of children hospitalized at Children’s of Mississippi,” the University of Mississippi Medical Center said in a news release yesterday.

The CDC as well as the MSDH currently recommend that anyone over the age of 12 that is eligible, get vaccinated. You can do so through your local primary care physician or pharmacy. The MSDH also has mobile vaccination sites that rotate throughout the state. You can find one closest to you by going to vaccines.gov/search/.

While colleges and universities are not required to submit weekly reports Dr. Byers said in Wednesday’s press conference that they are in close communication with them to monitor cases and outbreaks.