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Postive cases up 101 this week in county

Panola County has registered more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 this week, and has now had 867 positive cases in the totals kept by the Mississippi State Department of Health. Local authorities believe the county has about 150 active coronavirus cases, although how many of those patients are hospitalized are unclear because Panola residents have access to several different hospitals in neighboring counties.

There has been an increase in testing in Batesville the past several days with a “quick test” available at RedMed and daily testing underway at Panola Medical Center, the Aaron Henry Health Center, and other medical providers.

Emergency Management director for Panola County, Daniel Cole, said the increase in positive results is helped by more testing, but a lack of social distancing and thorough hand washing is the major contributor to the rise here.

“We are seeing people relaxing their social distancing and not washing their hands the way the CDC and the State of Mississippi recommends,” Cole said. “The only way we are going to stop, or slow down, the spread of this disease is for people to maintain social distancing at all times and to keep up the hand washing guidelines. Right now, I can’t say that is being done in Panola County to the level that will see these numbers go down.”

Cole also believes that wearing masks in public settings will slow the rate of transmission. “I hear from people on both sides every day, some don’t want to wear masks for whatever reason and some are trying,” he said. The county’s EMA office has provided, with assistance from other agencies, masks for every citizen of the county and for students who will be returning to school next week.

According to the MSDH numbers, Panola County had 61 new cases on Monday and another 41 on Tuesday. Since the state began keeping records March 11, the county has 11 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Statewide, some 57,579 cases have been recorded with 1,611 deaths. Of those deaths, 721 have been at longterm care facilities. In Panola, three of the 11 deaths were at those facilities.

Panola Medical Center will be the site for drive-up testing on Monday, Aug. 3. The event sponsored by the MSDH and the University of Mississippi Medical Center is expected to draw hundreds of people wanting a test. At the state-sponsored testing sites patients are not charged for the tests, nor do they have to present insurance cards.