Oxford Sees COVID-19 Crisis as ER Visits Up Statewide; State Blames Fraternities


Mississippians are not doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warned at yesterday’s press event. Dobbs acknowledged the concerns of Dr. Bhagyashri Navalkele, University of Mississippi medical director of infection prevention and control, that even the current level of hospital usage spelled impending disaster for Mississippi if it continues into the fall.

“The scenario is very possible that someone has a heart attack, and they’re gonna show up at a hospital, and there’s not gonna be a ventilator, because they’re all taken,” Dobbs said with audible tension bubbling in his tone. “This is now. This is the summer. This is the slow time.”

“There’s no way to prepare for a tidal wave of cases,” Dobbs admitted.

Dobbs blamed today’s COVID-19 realities on noncompliance with social-distancing rules. “The summer's been worse than we had anticipated, in large measure because the anticipated adherence with social distancing has been overwhelmingly disappointing,” Dobbs said. This week’s chief offenders in the callous spread of the disease to his mind: Ole Miss fraternities.

Oxford has seen a large COVID-19 outbreak this week, suspected to be spreading among summer fraternity rush parties, which Dobbs suggests are hosting an illegally large number of attendees.

The state health officer was visibly frustrated with the lack of adherence to distancing guidelines. “My head is sore from banging it on the wall,” he said. “Wear masks, social distance. Don't do mass gatherings and certainly follow the rules. You don't want to see me with a bruise up here next time.”

Most new confirmed cases in Oxford are in people between 18 and 24 years of age. Dobbs pleaded with the public to take necessary precautions so that young people do not transfer COVID-19 to their parents and to their grandparents, risking more severe illness and death along the

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