Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba called for increased vaccination among Jackson residents—especially those most vulnerable, such as the elderly—this week, citing high case numbers in Hinds County.
“We know that our elderly population and people with pre-existing conditions continue to be the most vulnerable as it relates to COVID-19,” Lumumba said in a Dec. 10 press briefing. “Presently Hinds County has reached 259 new cases per 100,000 each day. This puts the county in the highest risk level.”
The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 16,484 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, a continuing climb in case rates that now averages almost 5,500 new cases every day. Cases are also generally underreported, due to unreported at-home positives or those infections showing little to no symptoms.
“I'll say certainly it's an undercount,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in a Jan. 7 MSDH press briefing. “We know there's a lot more cases out there that are not reported that are being tested at home.”
Lumumba noted with encouragement that Hinds County is almost 55% fully vaccinated, an approximately 5% higher rate than the state average.
“Without question, those individuals who are vaccinated fare far better as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so we want to do everything that we can to encourage our residents to continue to be vaccinated,” Lumumba said.
The mayor also remarked on city-wide employee vaccinations, noting that nearly every city employee had now received vaccinations.
“That in and of itself suggests a monumental task on behalf of our human resources department to coordinate that effort amongst our employees,” Lumumba said. “We believe that that puts our employees in a safer position and the individuals that they come into contact with, and so we're grateful for that taking place.”
After discussing the case surge with his COVID-19 task force, Lumumba noted that city employees will continue to work remotely due to the surge in cases.
“We will continue to monitor that as time persists, but we thank all of our employees for continuing to work wherever they are to make sure that we outfit the city and its residents with all of the necessary services,” Lumumba said.
Lumumba previously tested positive for COVID-19, detecting the infection during a routine at-home test.
“I am doing well, my family is well,” Lumumba said. “I was the only one that contracted it in my family. I was fairly asymptomatic throughout that process. I have been retested, I am negative, and I am grateful for that. But not everyone is as fortunate as I am.”
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].