Breakthrough COVID-19 cases reported in Mississippi nursing homes

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 10:07 PM CDT
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FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Just one COVID-19 case is considered an outbreak in a long-term care facility because of how easily it can spread in a community setting and the high-risk residents.

Mississippi health officials are announcing two new outbreaks that are all tied to breakthrough cases.

COVID-19 cases have dropped dramatically in Mississippi since its peak in January of this year. The same can be said for the number of cases in long-term care facilities, thanks to high vaccination rates in that community.

However, Thursday the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 10 additional cases of the highly infectious South African COVID-19 variant in nursing homes in Forrest and Covington counties.

In all 10 cases, everyone was fully vaccinated. Medical professionals call these breakthrough cases.

So far, there have been 254 breakthrough cases in Mississippi out of more than 844,000 fully vaccinated Mississippians. While statistically low, severe breakthrough cases appear to be associated with a certain group.

“The only people who have been vaccinated that we have seen sick enough to be in the hospital, let alone the ICU setting, are those people who are immune-suppressed and can’t get a good response to the vaccine,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld earlier this week.

Threlkeld says breakthrough cases have been reported in the Mid-South.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there have been 907 breakthrough infections. About 46 percent were people over the age of 60. Only about 11 percent required hospitalizations and 2 percent ended in death.

Of the 10 breakthrough variant cases in Mississippi, a majority had minimal to no symptoms, but two required hospitalization and there was one death.

The state’s epidemiologist says the vaccine does offer high protection from severe disease.

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