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COVID-19 Update: With 1,635 cases, state hits new 1-day record

Mississippi has hit a record number of COVID-19 cases in one day, as the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,635 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday afternoon.
Lincoln County now has had 618 cases of the virus and 36 deaths. There have been 115 cases and 27 deaths reported in LTC facilities.
Thirty-one new deaths were reported statewide and 154 active outbreaks in long term care facilities. The state’s totals are now 45,524 cases — 44,999 confirmed — and 1,389 deaths — 1,358 confirmed.
Confirmed cases and deaths are generally determined by positive PCR tests, which detect the presence of ongoing coronavirus infection. Probable cases are those who test positive by other testing methods such as antibody or antigen, and have recent symptoms consistent with COVID-19, indicating a recent infection. Probable deaths are those individuals with a designation of COVID-19 as a cause of death on the death certificate, but where no confirmatory testing was performed.
Statewide, the last several days have seen new cases over 1,000 each day with only one exception, 792 on Sunday.
Monday, 943 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi and 293 were in intensive care units — the largest one-day total for the state. Approximately 40% of the state’s ICU patients have the virus, a “phenomenal number,” state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday.
Within the next two weeks, hospitals in the state will need to start placing patients two to a room, as well as placing beds in open wards and other areas where patients don’t normally stay in order to keep up with the surging numbers of coronavirus cases, Dobbs said.
“If we don’t see a decrease in transmission immediately, then it’s pretty likely that the health care system is going to be thoroughly overwhelmed,” Dobbs said.
“The fact that we are growing so quickly tells us that we are at the verge of really pushing our system over its capacity,” he said. “In large measure, we are already there.”
An estimated 30,315 people are presumed to have recovered from the virus. A person is presumed recovered if it has been 14 days or more since the case tested positive and they were not hospitalized, or it has been 21 days or more since the case tested positive and the person was hospitalized.
Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves extended the Safe Return order and county-specific executive order, adding 10 counties to the 13 already under tighter social distancing measures.
These 23 counties were identified as localized regions with spikes in cases and at a higher risk for transmission: Bolivar, Claiborne, Covington, Desoto, Forrest, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Panola, Quitman, Rankin, Sharkey, Simpson, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Walthall, Washington and Wayne Counties.
Those counties cover 55-60% of the state’s population, Reeves told the White House coronavirus task force.
“COVID-19 is spreading and killing in our state. It’s not a hypothetical — it is happening,” said Reeves. “Today, I’ve extended our executive orders to mitigate the threat, adding 10 counties to the list of those with stricter measures in place.”
Both executive orders are extended for an additional two weeks until 8 a.m. on Aug. 3.
The signed executive orders can be viewed in their entirety here: Executive Order No. 1508, Executive Order No. 1509. All executive orders regarding COVID-19 are available online at governorreeves.ms.gov/covid-19.

MSDH recommendations
• Social distancing is still critical to stop the spread of COVID-19. Keep plenty of distance between yourself and others.
• Wearing a mask or face covering can sharply reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on to others. Wearing a mask is strongly recommended whenever you are in public places with others around you.
• Most people spreading COVID-19 do not know they are infected.
• Remind others that precautions remain essential, and set an example by your actions.

Hotel and travel recommendations
The American Hotel & Lodging Association announced this past week that guests will now be required to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces. This mandate is part of the Safe Stay Guest Checklist, part of AHLA’s Safe Stay guidelines — an industry-wide enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for guests and employees.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.