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VIDEO: What to expect on Election Day in Warren County

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Sara Carlson Dionne, chairwoman of the Warren County Election Commission. (photo via video screen grab, video by Thomas Parker)

Sara Dionne, chairwoman of the Warren County Election Commission, spoke with Vicksburg Daily News Tuesday about the steps the commission is taking this year to ensure a safe election amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Dionne also took to Facebook to encourage voters to come out and cast their ballots on Nov. 3, offering a preview of the precautions implemented in this year’s polling procedures.

 

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COVID-19

Warren County reports 55th COVID-19 death

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The Mississippi State Department of Health reported six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Warren County and one new death, a resident in one of the county’s long-term health facilities. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,527, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 730 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 111,322. The seven-day average of new cases is 769, higher by 270 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Tuesday that 31 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,202. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.9%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 31 deaths MSDH reported Tuesday, 22 occurred between Aug. 6 and Oct. 18 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Tuesday
Attala 1
Bolivar 1
Chickasaw 1
Clarke 1
Grenada 1
Harrison 2
Hinds 1
Jackson 3
Jasper 1
Leflore 1
Lincoln 1
Noxubee 1
Panola 1
Pearl River 2
Pike 1
Tippah 1
Tishomingo 1
Warren 1

Nine COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Sept. 18 and Oct. 10 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths reported on death certificate reports
Adams 1
Bolivar 1
De Soto 1
Greene 1
Hinds 1
Lauderdale 1
Leake 1
Madison 1
Simpson 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They dropped again through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been showing a rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, is 653, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 541 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 112 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 151 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 70 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 97,675 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 87.7% of the cumulative 111,322 cases reported Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Sept. 29, was 1,415, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,360, or about 89.1% of the 1,527 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Oct. 20. The county has an estimated 112 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Thursday, Oct. 15, is 900,479 or about 30.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 17.7% Monday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.3%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 127 Tuesday. About 40.3%, or 1,289, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 26 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 4.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Harper’s resignation has supervisors seeking attorney general’s opinion

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(photo courtesy Warren County)

At Monday’s regularly scheduled Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss the matter of County Prosecutor Ken Harper submitting his resignation Sept. 14 then rescinding the resignation days later.

The item on the board’s agenda referenced possible litigation. The board met for several minutes before reconvening and recessing until 9 a.m. Tuesday when the board again went into executive session. In addition to the board members, Chancery Clerk Donna Ferris Hardy, Deputy Clerk Beverly Johnson, Board Attorney Blake Teller and Warren County Judge Marcie Southerland attended.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s session, the board announced it had instructed Teller to seek an attorney general’s opinion as to the legality of the resignation and the action to rescind, as well as whether the board was the correct governmental agency to handle the resignation.

The board also voted to withhold any payments to Harper until the issue is resolved. Harper submitted a one sentence resignation letter to the board Sept. 14, only to rescind it Sept. 17 saying he had acted in haste. The board was originally scheduled to address the situation in its Sept. 21 meeting but the item was removed from the agenda.

Harper defeated long time prosecutor Ricky Johnson for the post in November 2019, and has been in office since January.

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