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Update: State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs made a correction about the number of children in the ICU due to the Delta variant. The following article has been updated with the new information.

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – With a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant in Mississippi, health officials are encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a tweet on Tuesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said there are seven children in the ICU due to the Delta variant. Two of the children are on life support. A previous tweeted from Dobbs said 12 children were in the ICU, and 10 were on life support. He said a hospital corrected its report to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH).

According to Dobbs, a majority of the COVID-19 cases in Mississippi are the Delta variant. He said a “vast majority” of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths are of people who have not been vaccinated.

On Tuesday, MSDH reported 219 new coronavirus cases and 10 additional deaths across the state.

“Pretty much for the last three weeks, we see a doubling every week. We are a the highest point that we’ve been in the last three months as of today,” said Dr. Alan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC).

According to Jones, there are four hospitalized pediatric patients at UMMC as of Tuesday, July 13.

“It does feel a little surreal that we are faced with some rising numbers. We certainly remain concerned that with the low vaccination rate that we’ll continue to see increases,” he said.

Last week, MSDH issued new public health guidance due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. The agency issued the following recommendations:

  • Those 65 and older should avoid all indoor mass gatherings (regardless of vaccination status)
  • All Mississippi residents with chronic underlying medical conditions avoid all indoor mass gatherings
  • All Mississippians 12 years of age and older receive COVID vaccination
  • All unimmunized wear a mask when indoors in public settings