Families who have been in the dark about coronavirus spread in their loved one’s nursing homes now have limited insight into facility outbreaks.

The state health department released a list of 116 facilities that have current outbreaks considered one case among residents and staff late Wednesday, after a judge ruled last week that the agency had to disclose the names.

In total, MSDH is reporting 1,718 resident cases, 1,003 employee cases and 310 resident deaths in long-term care facilities with active outbreaks. Of the 116 facilities with active outbreaks, 27 facilities about a quarter have only had one case among staff or residents, despite the disease’s quick-spread in residential facilities.

State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said on Wednesday that facilities with proper infection control can either keep the virus out or keep it to minimal spread once it does come in, adding that a good rule of thumb in facilities is to assume everyone has it and protect staff and residents accordingly.

“We’ve seen places that had one employee (test positive) and had really great protocols for infection prevention and that was it – it just stopped,” he said. “That’s the kind of thinking we’re going to have to have going forward – we cant test our way out of it, though its an important tool – but combined with proper infection prevention we can do a good job.”

The list comes in the backdrop of drastic case growth over the last two weeks in Mississippi. New cases started to slow mid-May but have quickly reversed, worrying state officials particularly when it comes to not overburdening the health care system the goal of flattening the curve.

As Dobbs mentioned Wednesday, new cases are diversifying by age. Younger people have driven new cases over the last two weeks 18 to 29-year-olds now accounting for majority cases, and their case-load growing by 57 percent in just two weeks.

Erica Hensley, a native of Atlanta, has been working as an investigative reporter focusing on public health for Mississippi Today since May 2018. She is a Knight Foundation fellow for our newsroom’s collaboration with local TV station WLBT and curates The Inform[H]er, our monthly women and girls’ newsletter. She is the 2019 recipient of the Doris O'Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship. Erica received a bachelor’s in print journalism and political science from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a master’s in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia Grady College for Journalism and Mass Communication.