Virus spike limits church services


New Bethel Baptist Church near Laurel Hill in rural Neshoba County is back with limited in-person worship after a two-week break due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Neshoba County.

Because several local churches had outbreaks in October, the New Bethel leadership, meeting by a group text, decided a few weeks ago to temporarily go back to drive-in services only.

“We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” the Rev. Curt Pace said in a social media post to church members. “Please help us to get this update to our church members who aren’t on FB (Facebook).”

After a couple weeks of trending upward in cases, overall numbers here are on the decline, according to the latest information from a The New York Times database.

Neshoba remains among multiple counties under a mask order and additional safety measures that limit social gatherings in an effort to combat COVID-19 spread that went into effect by an executive order from Gov. Tate Reeves two weeks ago. 

The order is set to expire next Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The executive order also limits indoor social gatherings to groups of 10 and outdoor events to groups of 50. Face coverings are required while indoors and interacting with the public. 

A report from the Mississippi State Department of Health released on Oct. 27 shows a total of 48 COVID cases in the Neshoba County School District since classes began in August. 

Fourteen cases have been reported at the elementary school, 10 at the middle school, and 24 at the high school. 

For the week of Oct. 19-23, the district had zero students quarantined. 

Philadelphia High School and Philadelphia Elementary have had no increase of cases, with 18 total reported since August at the high school, with 1-5 at the elementary school.  

The total cases here, as of Tuesday, was 1,913. The state reported 111 COVID-related deaths in Neshoba County, no increase from last week.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has reported a total of 1,222 positive cases among Tribal members, with nearly half of those coming from the Pearl River community.

The Tribe saw an increase of 17 positive cases within the last week. The Tribe has tested 6,516 members, with 5,185 negative results. Of the positive cases, 1,125 have recovered, 84 have died and three remain hospitalized. 

On Monday, the state reported 644 new cases of the virus and 36 new deaths, bringing the total cases in Mississippi to 121,509. The state is reporting 3,384 total deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Patients in ICU beds across the state, as well as on ventilators, increased slightly over the last two weeks but are also beginning to trend downward. 

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