• 77°

Doctor: Local COVID-19 curve appears to be flattening

Natchez was expected to hit a peak with the number of cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus on about April 24.

Natchez physician Dr. Blane Mire, a partner at Internal Medicine Associates, said it looks like the curve has flattened and death rates have hit a plateau over the last five days or so.

“That appears to be a good sign, but what we really need is the curve to start trending downward,” Mire said. “The IHME model that we have been referring to uses a lot of data to predict the curve but relied on the mitigation strategies staying in place until the end of May for future projections. With the state opening up more nonessential businesses this week, the model does not account for the easing of social distancing that comes along with that.”

Mire said, while the number of cases in Adams County has remained relatively steady over the past week, the virus is clearly still spreading here.

“The good news is that new severe cases requiring hospitalizations have remained relatively stable. I’d credit our community as a whole for doing a much better job protecting our older and higher risk population over the past few weeks,” he said. “It just took a little time for everyone to fully understand the potential impact of this pandemic on our local community and what measures we really needed to take to protect each other.

“Now that we are doing that so much better, I just have to stress how important it is not to let up now. Especially with the opening up of additional businesses, it is even much more imperative to practice social distancing, hand hygiene and continue to wear our masks in public. That includes the businesses and the customers,” Mire said.

Guidelines for businesses to follow have been issued by the City of Natchez COVID-19 Task Force and more regionally by the Economy Recovery Task Force formed by Natchez Now and Natchez Inc. and Concordia Economic Development. Mire helped guide that group in the creation of Shop Smart guidelines.

“We all have to stay vigilant while we gradually and carefully reopen more businesses. Continue to stay at home if you can, work at home if you can, and be prepared to protect yourselves when you have to venture out,” he said. “Remember that we are in control of the curve, and if we start to let up now, then it may lead to another spike in cases and more devastating outcomes for some vulnerable members of our community. We just can’t let that happen! Wash your hands, Don’t touch your face.”