Oxford, Mississippi mayor working to get accurate COVID-19 numbers

Cases on the rise across Mississippi

OXFORD, Miss. (WMC) - As of Friday more than 300 of Mississippi’s 25,066 COVID-19 cases are in Lafayette County.

Governor Tate Reeves tweeted the numbers improved slightly “but they are not back under control. We are still at risk of overwhelming our hospital system if trends continue.”

Oxford Mayor, Robyn Tannehill says the state’s numbers don’t paint a clear picture of what’s going on in Lafayette County.

Last week, Tannehill said there were 162 Ole Miss students with COVID-19, but they list their home addresses when getting tested so their positive tests are counted elsewhere.

“We just know that there are a large number of cases that are not currently being counted in our Lafayette County cases,” said Tannehill.

Tannehill says the Mississippi Department of Health is now aware of this, but until they can help she is asking the county’s clinics and hospitals to share their data with her office. However, she says she’s not getting a great response.

“We are not getting all of our clinics to respond like we had hoped and I totally understand why,” she said. “They are trying to keep their clinics running all day long.”

Tannehill says residents are also seeing a 10-day lag time between the day they are tested and the day they receive their results. She also says younger adults are the ones testing positive.

“We’re seeing our largest increase in positive cases in the 18 to 24-year-old age range,” said Tannehill.

Tannehill also says she’s receiving reports of large gatherings where people are not social distancing or wearing face masks. She’s now considering enforcing the face mask ordinance that is already in place.

“We have been given warnings and encouraging people to make wise decisions and to try and be part of the solution, not the problem, but yes, I think we’re probably getting to a time where enforcement is going to have to be stepped up,” said Tannehill.

As of now, Tannehill says hospital beds are available, but if hospitalizations increase rapidly she will have to re-evaluate the towns reopening plan.

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