Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians hardest hit in coronavirus pandemic, according to state health officials

Updated: Jun. 12, 2020 at 7:10 PM CDT
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NESHOBA CO., Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Neshoba County and the state are being the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the death rate among the Native Americans from COVID-19 is higher than any other ethnic group.

The State Department of Health’s latest numbers reports a total of 19,091 cases. There have been 13 new deaths, bringing the total to 881.

“The mortality rate among Choctaw Nation individuals is far higher than in other groups. It’s far higher than African-Americans. It’s far higher than Caucasians,” said Dr. Dobbs. “So it’s a group that we’re very concerned about. We’re working very closely with their leadership and also with their public health entity because they have their own independent public health authority."

According to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, June 11 data reports 789 cases, 267 active cases, and 47 deaths.

Five-hundred-and-twenty-two have recovered from the virus.

“Native-Americans are much more likely to get coronavirus and then when they get it they’re much more likely to die,” said the State Health Officer. "That same sort of pattern holds for African-Americans, although not at the same degree.

According to Dobbs, they face the challenge of young people in the tribe contracting the virus and spreading it to their families.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has 3,000 households in eight communities across six counties in the state.

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