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COVID-19 cases are more than current numbers

How much trust should residents put in the numbers coming from state officials about the COVID-19 outbreak?

Not much, if you listen to mayors on both sides of the Mississippi River.

Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft made it very clear Tuesday afternoon when he addressed residents on social media.

“Our first confirmed case was Saturday this past week, and it only showed up (Tuesday) on our state information. So, guess what? It is much more and much worse than what you are seeing on the websites.”

With so many cases from so many different places across Louisiana, state officials appear to be struggling with not only conducting tests but also getting timely and accurate information to the public.

Tuesday, The Louisiana Department of Health reported three cases in Concordia Parish. Two of those cases were reported to the parish days before.

Because of the state’s inability to report timely information, Craft said he believes more people in the region have been infected.

Thanks to Timothy Vanier, the director of the Concordia Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, officials did not wait on the state to issue its numbers before getting the word out to residents.

The story is much the same in Mississippi.

In a conference call with other mayors across the region, Craft said conversations with local health officials indicate more cases of COVID-19 exist in Adams County than what is being reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Even before Craft’s warnings, Natchez residents knew test numbers were questionable after Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell had to wait more than a week for his test results. 

Because both states — and possibly many more — are struggling to publish data, residents should assume the problem is worse than is being reported.

The problem underscores the need to strictly adhere to guidelines for the health of the entire community.