JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Of the state’s eight designated hotspot counties for coronavirus cases, not one is in the Jackson metro, in part because per capita rates of cases there are much lower than other counties.
While Hinds County has the most cases in the state -- 959 -- it’s also the county with the biggest population.
By contrast, Madison County has 694 cumulative COVID-19 cases and Rankin County has 385.
A 3 On Your Side analysis of per capita case rates in the metro, however, shows Madison with a much higher rate than Hinds: 65 cases per 10,000 residents, compared to Hinds County’s 41.
Our research -- based on Mississippi State Department of Health data -- shows Madison County’s case rate doubled in just 11 days, starting on May 1.
“The driver for the number of cases in Madison County is the Canton area. Canton has the vast majority of cases," said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Dobbs said 9 percent of the county’s cases -- 63 people -- are poultry-related workers.
Data from MSDH shows 14 percent of those cases are in long-term care facilities.
“A lot of those long-term care happened recently, and a couple of weeks ago, we had a confluence of two testing events and also we did some mass testing at nursing homes, so we had a big jump," Dobbs said, explaining the sudden spike.
Dobbs said recent weeks of new cases in Madison County appear to show more stability for the area, meaning it’s not likely to be targeted for further stay-at-home restrictions.
“Still, a lot going on there,” Dobbs said. “I strongly encourage people across the state, but especially in the Canton area, to be very careful with social distancing, masks, and all the things we know are gonna work."
Dobbs said residents who live in counties with few new cases shouldn’t get complacent, either.
“If your county’s doing great, keep it up. Don’t let your guard down. It’s not only gonna cause illness but it’s gonna stress the health system and people are gonna get sick and die," Dobbs said.