A Mississippi infant recently died due to complications from COVID-19, the state health department announced Wednesday.
This marks the first pediatric COVID death in the state since February 2022, state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers told State Board of Health members at their meeting Wednesday. This is the 14th death of a child under the age of 18 due to COVID-19 in the state.
“So it is a reminder that COVID is still out there, it’s still transmitted, and it can still lead to severe complications,” Byers said at the meeting. “So, it’s important for everybody who is eligible to stay up-to-date for vaccinations.”
Byers gave limited details but said the child was under a year old.
“Remember that when we get vaccinated, not only does it protect us, but it also protects those individuals around us who are vulnerable, who may not be eligible for vaccination, or may be folks who are in those higher risk categories,” Byers said.
Pandemic numbers have risen some recently – a normal trend for the winter – but Byers said he was encouraged to see no dramatic spikes in case counts. Hospitalizations have started rising throughout the new year, along with an increase in ICU admissions and use of ventilators.
The health department reported as of Jan. 9, 365 hospital patients had confirmed COVID-19 infections; 50 were in the ICU and 18 were on ventilators. Last January’s peak had about 300 patients in the ICU and over 1,500 hospitalizations before numbers dropped drastically in March.
In its last weekly case count posted Tuesday, the health department reported 5,778 new cases and 15 COVID-related deaths between Dec. 27 to Jan. 2.
Cases last spiked during the summer and dropped during the fall before the current rise. Still, the current case count is about half of last January’s peak of over 10,000 cases in a seven-day period.
But with the rise of at-home testing and less-severe COVID-related symptoms caused by some of the virus’ newer strains, the state’s weekly count only gives some insight to how many cases are occurring statewide.
The health department recommends everyone 6 months old and older receives the vaccine and its boosters. Health officials especially recommend vaccinations for adults 65 and older and anyone with a weakened immune system or underlying health problems.
Four children died from the virus in Mississippi in 2022. One was between 1 and 5 years old and three others were between the ages of 11 and 17.