The Hattiesburg area continues to make strides in lowering case numbers of COVID-19, leaving Mayor Toby Barker hopeful that healthcare workers and hospital units will finally get a bit of a respite.
In a video address on Sept. 17, Barker said as of that day, Forrest General and Merit Healthy Wesley had 64 patients who were confirmed COVID-19 positive. Of those, 19 were in the Intensive Care Unit and 10 were on ventilators.
Those numbers are significantly lower than from the week prior, when 111 were hospitalized and 43 were in the ICU.
“We’ve seen a lot of progress over the last few weeks,” Barker said. “If you look back to about two and a half weeks ago, when our peak was 180 people in the hospital, we’re almost down to a third of that.
“We want to see those numbers continue to go down.”
Of the 64 hospitalized patients, seven were fully vaccinated. Of the 19 patients in the ICU, one was fully vaccinated, and of the 10 on ventilators, one was fully vaccinated.
As of the date of the address, Forrest County officials reported a total of 233 deaths; two of those were new since the prior week. Lamar County reported 128 cases, with six new deaths since the prior week.
“As we see hospitalizations and ICU (numbers) go down, we continue to see the deaths average between five and 10 a week,” Barker said. “Some of that is reported in real time; some of those are derived from death certificates.”
Forrest County reported 27 new cases of the virus, while Lamar County reported 31.
The ‘inside 14-day” number, which indicates the number of individuals who have received a positive diagnosis over the last two weeks, was 524 in Forrest County, and 423 in Lamar County, for a total of 947 in the metro area. Those numbers are down from the week prior, when Forrest County reported 1,041 and Lamar County reported 737, for a total of 1,778 in the metro area.
As of Sept. 17, 29,637 Forrest County residents – or 5 percent – had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 25,543, or 34 percent, were fully vaccinated. Lamar County saw 35,949 residents, or 7 percent, with their first dose; 31,692 residents – or 50 percent – were fully vaccinated.
To help increase those numbers, city officials continue to promote the “Trust your Doc, Get your Shot” campaign, which can be found online at www.getyourshothburg.com. The website features several Hattiesburg residents who speak about the importance of receiving a vaccine, and offers information on how and where to get the shots.
This week, the campaign features Lucas Williams, who serves as president of the Student Government Association at the University of Southern Mississippi.
“He has gotten his vaccination, and he wants you to do the same,” Barker said.