Local officials cautious, optimistic as cases fall, vaccine doses increase
Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2021
As the number of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to grow, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Warren County continues to slow.
In its report Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced just two new cases of the virus in Warren County, bringing the number of new cases reported in March to 63 — an average of less than four new cases per day.
Also, state officials reported that nearly 16,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Warren County residents thus far, with thousands more appointments scheduled for clinics and the county’s drive-thru vaccination site.
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But while the numbers have been favorable, local leaders are remaining cautious in removing some of the restrictions that officials say have been proven to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially at a time when many are traveling this week for the spring break holiday.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday decided to wait and see whether any changes are needed to the county’s COVID-19 emergency orders before they are set to expire on April 5.
During their meeting Monday, Supervisors said the county’s current orders — which include a mask mandate and social distancing measures — will remain in place.
The move comes after the city changed its orders on Friday, removing just about all of the virus-related restrictions while leaving the mask mandate and social distancing measures in place.
“I do not see a need to make any changes now,” Board President Dr. Jeff Holland said. “The way I read the city’s new orders is that they now fall in line with what we already have.”
District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson and District 5 Supervisor Kelle Barfield also advocated for leaving the county’s rules in place through April 5.
“I do not think now is the time,” Jackson said. “Let us wait and see how our numbers are in a few weeks.”
On Tuesday, the state opened vaccination appointments to all residents, ages 16 and older.
All of this positive news comes as the state marked the one-year anniversary of the pandemic on March 11 and Warren County grows closer to its one-year mark. The first case of COVID-19 in Warren County was reported on March 29. Since then, Warren County has reported 4,189 positive cases.
Sadly, though, the news Tuesday was not all positive, as another virus-related death was confirmed in the county. Since the first COVID-connected death was reported in Warren County on April 6, a total of 116 people have lost their lives to the virus.