Number of COVID cases rising here, but only five patients with COVID in hospital

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

NATCHEZ — Like elsewhere in Mississippi, COVID cases are rising here. However, most of the cases so far have not required hospitalization.

Five patients are in Merit Health Natchez who have been diagnosed with COVID. That’s up from two patients at this time last week, said Kay Ketchings, the hospital’s director of marketing.

Three hundred twenty five new cases of COVID were diagnosed among Adams County residents between Dec. 18, 2021, and Jan. 3 of this year.

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COVID self-testing kits are reportedly flying off the shelves here, which means a number of other residents may be testing positive for COVID, but unless those patients seek medical attention, the numbers aren’t being reported.

Dr. Leslie England, a Natchez internal medicine physician who is the hospital’s infectious disease specialist, said the omicron variant of the disease is less likely to send its victims to the hospital than previous variants.

“What I’m hearing about omicron is, if you have had the vaccine, the odds of getting sick enough to have to go to the hospital are very slim,” England said.

If you have not been vaccinated, he urges all to get the vaccine now.

“There is still time to get the vaccine. Even if you get one dose that will help you,” England said.

The omicron variant is incredibly contagious and is spreading quickly, he said. Those who have not been vaccinated, particularly those with underlying conditions like obesity or diabetes, are particularly at risk.

“We may get a phenomenon like they saw in South Africa, in which cases spread very quickly and then came down very quickly,” England said.