Madison County has experienced a nearly 40-percent rise in the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past week.

Last Tuesday, Madison’s total stood at 298 cases. According to the latest numbers posted online by the Mississippi Department of Health Wednesday, that total now stands at 493.

That figure is the third-most among Mississippi’s 82 counties, trailing only Hinds (698 cases) and Lauderdale (523).

But Madison now also dwarfs neighboring Hinds and Rankin Counties in infection rates based on population. As of Wednesday, one in every 348 Hinds residents had tested positive, as have one in every 601 Rankin County residents. In Madison, that number is one in every 215 residents.

There have been 15 deaths recorded in Madison County as well, with 10 of those from long-term care facilities. The county has reported 58 total cases among residents and employees in the county’s nursing homes.

According to state figures, 210 positive cases are African-Americans, 106 white, three are Asian, and the rest are described as other or unknown. Of the 15 deaths, six are classified as African-American and nine white.

The increase in cases came in the same week many businesses in the county prepared to open their doors for the first time in more than a month.

Restaurants began seating customers, albeit with a limited capacity, last Thursday. Barbershops, salons and beauty parlors reopened for the first time Tuesday under a revised edition of Gov. Tate Reeves’ “Safer at Home” order announced last week.

Kelly Rainer, owner of French Doll Salon in Madison, said she’s implemented several safeguards to protect her employees and customers.

“We’ve got customers waiting in their cars until we text them that it’s time to come in,” Rainer said. “We have hand sanitizer for them to utilize when they come in, and we are requiring our customers and our employees to wear a mask while in the store.”

Rainer said her customers seemed eager to get back in their stylists’ chair, and that they have been happy to comply with the requests.

“Everyone has been so kind and patient with us,” she said. “And the response we’ve gotten from our clients has been amazing. We’ve never been more excited to be exhausted in our lives.”

Popular restaurants like Koestler Prime located at Renaissance at Colony Park have opened their doors for inside seating but continue to offer takeout options.