‘I’m seeing COVID kill more people now than ever’: Coroner says county sees record deaths in August

Published 6:02 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2021

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NATCHEZ — Adams County Coroner James Lee said 22 locals diagnosed with COVID-19 have died with complications from the virus in August, which is the highest number he has seen in a single month.

“Everyone should be doing everything they possibly can to protect themselves and their families because I’m seeing COVID kill more people now than ever before — and that speaks volumes,” Lee said on Wednesday. “We’ve got the numbers.”

As of Wednesday, MSDH reported a total 107 COVID-19 deaths in Adams County. As of Aug. 1, the MSDH reported only 88 deaths.

The latest death came on Tuesday night, when a 46-year-old woman of unknown vaccination status passed away. Lee said that death, when confirmed by the state, and the death of individuals in Fayette and Ferriday, Louisiana, combined make the total of 22 deaths he has counted in the Miss-Lou during August.

“In the 22 who died in August, we had ages 28 to 87,” Lee said. “My concern is people don’t realize how bad COVID still is. … We should be following all of the CDC guidelines. We should be wearing masks. We should not be congregated in big crowds. That is my concern.”

Volunteer statistician Norma Williams said Adams County would exceed its prior record of 14 deaths in a single month set in January. Williams bases this figure on deaths reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health, she said.

Adams County also set a new record of COVID-19 cases in a single month with 529 new cases reported in the county by MSDH as of Aug. 31, Williams said. This beats the prior record of 431 cases in Adams County reported by MSDH in May, she said.

Concordia Parish has had a total of 66 COVID-19 deaths, including four in August, said Tim Vanier, director of the Concordia Parish Office of Homeland Security. The parish has had a total of 514 new COVID cases in August and a currently positivity rate of 11.5 percent — lower than the State of Louisiana as a whole which has a positivity rate of 14.2 percent.

Lee guessed that at least 25 percent of those who died last month were younger than 50 years old. The youngest to die last month was a 28-year-old woman from Ferriday who was unvaccinated and had other underlying health issues, he said.

“It’s very obvious from last month that COVID is killing people of all ages,” Lee said. “No one has to tell us that. No one has to tell us to protect ourselves.”

Lee said while he believes vaccination is a personal choice, he strongly advocates that anyone who is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should get the vaccinated, including children who are 12 and older.

“I also think this variant (Delta) is more contagious,” he said. “Young people are affected in the same way as the older. I’m hoping that we take this a little bit more seriously, especially in Adams County.”