BREAKING NEWS Butantan desenvolve vacina brasileira contra Covid-19 e quer iniciar testes
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs on Monday said 71 of Mississippis 82 counties have reported positive coronavirus cases within schools — an increase from roughly half of the states counties that reported positives late last week.
At a news conference with Gov. Tate Reeves, Dobbs said 245 teachers and 199 students have tested positive. Those positives have led to 589 teachers and 2,035 students being placed in quarantine. Many schools have yet to reopen to in-person learning. Dobbs said most students that have tested positive caught the virus outside of campus, and "brought it with them."
As schools continue to reopen, Reeves announced two measures Monday he said would assist students and teachers. One expands access to coronavirus testing for teachers, even if they are not symptomatic. The other allows emergency telehealth services to be offered at schools for students covered under Medicaid, which Reeves said could be an option for about half of Mississippi school campuses.
"This will allow schools, even those without school nurses or school-based clinics, to access telehealth services," Reeves said. "A physician, a nurse practitioner, or physician assistant will be able to provide remote services in schools across the state."
Dobbs said the new policy for teachers and other educators allows them to obtain a coronavirus test through the state even if they do not feel ill, or have not been potentially exposed to someone with the virus. Teachers can get a test at the states primary drive-through site in Jackson, or one of the mobile sites that rotate throughout the state.
And soon, Dobbs said 16 new testing teams will begin rotating through local health department offices to offer free drive-through testing for educators. He noted if educators get a test despite not having symptoms or an exposure, they would not have to quarantine themselves as they wait for results.
Reeves has come under criticism from teachers as well as leading health care officials for allowing schools to reopen too soon. Most called for a delay until Sept. 1, but Reeves decided earlier this month to allow most schools to reopen whenever they wanted.
Despite growing case counts in schools, Reeves praised decreasing overall virus numbers over the past three weeks. He noted average daily case counts had decreased from about 1,400 at the end of July to about 700 on Monday. He urged Mississippians to "drive it down even further."