Officials confirm Friday morning death in Sunflower County likely related to COVID-19


Sunflower County officials have confirmed a Friday morning death in the county is likely related to COVID-19.

A special call meeting conducted by Sunflower County Emergency Management Director Denny Evans was held in the supervisors' conference room at the Sunflower County Courthouse on Friday evening, where a few details surrounding the death were revealed, along with other pertinent information related to the pandemic.

The E-T joined the meeting via telephone. 

In the session with county health care officials and representatives from some of the county's municipalities, Evans mentioned an earlier conference call with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials and updated the group with regard to the coronavirus outbreak in the state and in Sunflower County.

Evans confirmed that as of 6 p.m. on Thursday, the state now has 579 positive cases of the COVID-19 with eight confirmed deaths across the state.

He said that Sunflower County has five active cases and Coroner Heather Burton confirmed that the county has experienced its first death related to COVID-19, which happened around 3 a.m. Friday morning.

She only identified the victim as a 75-year-old with underlying health issues. Burton said the Mississippi State Department of Health was contacted immediately and that they would be contacting the family about self-quarantining.

A South Sunflower County Hospital representative present at the meeting said only one confirmed positive case has been identified in the Indianola facility.

Evans said he did not have any information on the number of confirmed positive cases at Ruleville's North Sunflower Medical Center facility.

Evans began his presentation by stating that an expected large shipment of medical personal protective equipment ordered from China by the state department of health and MEMA for medical personnel is not coming.

"We've run into a snag on that. The Chinese government seized it," he said. 

He said the agencies are going to regroup and see if they can get the supplies from other areas. In the meantime, the Strategic National Stockpile is going to ship out all they have to the states, Mississippi's allotment could be less than impressive, according to Evans.

He said MEMA and the MDHS has received over 5,000 requests for resources so far.

"The resources that the state department of health has are going to the facilities that have the active COVID-19 patients, the ones that have tested positive. That's who's going to get those medical PPE's and everything first," said Evans.

However, he encouraged the local healthcare facilities to continue to make their requests to him in spite of that and not to accept it as if they are not going to get anything.

He also shared an online resource for those in the health care field that shows how to optimize their medical personal protective equipment during a shortage.

Although there was no official confirmation, Evans indicated that the Dollar General Distribution Center in Indianola has been temporarily shut down to disinfect the center because a vendor came into the facility earlier who tested positive for Covid-19.

District 1 Supervisor Glenn Donald queried Evans about a comprehensive plan to house patients in the unhopeful event that the hospital facilities become overrun and Evan said he would get with Hospital personnel to see what their plans are and work something out if necessary.


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