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COVID-19

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations available for next week in Mississippi

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Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced that 20,000 appointments for COVID-19 vaccines were available for the week beginning Jan. 25. Eligible residents can call this week to set up appointments at drive-thru sites around the state.

Vicksburg and Warren County can expect to see several sites where residents can get vaccinated for COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

The first is a drive-thru site at Pemberton Mall, run jointly by the Mississippi State Department of Health, the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and the Mississippi National Guard. City and county officials are hopeful that the site will be up and running the week of Feb. 1, but the opening will be dependent on having sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition to the drive-thru site, Mission Primary Care and Medical Associates of Vicksburg have applied to administer the vaccine when supplies are made available.

Drive-thru sites are operated on the same model as testing sites: Residents must make an appointment either online or by phone. Currently, those 65 year of age and older, those 18 to 64 years old with certain underlying conditions making them more vulnerable to the virus, health care providers and first responders are eligible to get vaccinated.

MSDH has assured residents that if they are scheduled to receive the second, required dose of vaccine, those appointments can also be scheduled, indicating second shots have been set aside for those who need them.

A total of 114,947 Mississippians were inoculated against COVID-19 as of Jan. 18, including 9,719 who have received both required doses.

For information about vaccines, how and where to get vaccinated and vaccine distribution in Mississippi, please visit the MSDH website.

The federal government said Friday it has delivered some 31.2 doses of vaccine to states, territories and federal agencies since the vaccines became available.

About 12.3 million Americans received the first dose of one of two COVID-19 vaccines as of Jan. 15, far short of the national goal of 20 million inoculated by the end of 2020. At least 1.6 million individuals have received both of the doses required for full inoculation. Additional information about the vaccines can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The virus in Mississippi and nationwide

Decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the seven-day average for new cases in Mississippi continue to be the two areas that show hope that the surge that began in late October may be beginning to wane. Regardless, both Mississippi and Warren County are on track to see their worst months for cases and deaths since the beginning of the crisis.

Hospitalizations have decreased since the recent peak of 1, 518 reported Jan. 4. Sunday’s hospitalizations totaled 1,249, a decrease of 269 people, or 21.5%.

This optimistic news is tempered by the fact that this number is on par with the peak last summer, and that numbers of seriously ill patients and those on ventilators are about as high as they have ever been in the state. Hospitals across the state — including Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg — are reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients.

For the sixth consecutive day, the seven-day average of cases is slightly lower than it was a month ago. Tuesday’s seven-day average is about 1,881 cases, 142 fewer cases (about 7%) than the seven-day average of Dec. 19 of 2,023 cases per day. Note that six days don’t necessarily make a trend; however, the signs remain good.

The anticipated surge of new cases and hospitalizations after the year-end holidays may still hit within the next week or so. In addition, Mississippi has already seen two record one-day highs in COVID-19 deaths this month: 98 reported Jan. 12 and 91 reported Jan. 5.

Tuesday, Warren County reported 14 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths. Cumulative totals in the county are 3,548 cases and 98 deaths.

Based on the 805 new cases reported for the first 19 days of January, Warren County could see between 1,300 and 1,400 cases by the end of the month, eclipsing all monthly case totals so far. The county has already recorded 20 deaths this month, making it a near certainty that deaths will be higher than the record 21 deaths recorded in December and August 2020.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 634 with a daily average of about 45 cases daily. The seven-day average is about 38 cases a day, with 269 cases reported in the past seven days. The county is on the governor’s list of COVID-19 hot spots that include all but four of Mississippi’s 82 counties — Claiborne, Issaquena, Sharkey and Tunica — three of which neighbor Warren.

Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,193 new COVID-19 cases statewide, bringing the cumulative total of cases to 255,125.

In the first 19 days of January, the state reported 39,314 new cases, with two days of more than 3,000 cases. If current trends hold, the state is on track to see its worst month yet, with more than 64,000 cases. With 788 deaths reported to date in January, Mississippi is on track to see nearly 1,300 deaths by the end of the month, making it the deadliest month since the crisis began.

COVID-19 is one of the state’s leading causes of death at this time, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. To see other causes of death in the state, including deaths from flu and pneumonia, click here.

State health officials are strongly urging Mississippians not to hold or attend any gatherings that include people not in their immediate families. In addition, they urge wearing a mask in public, keeping 6 feet of social distance and maintaining good hand hygiene.

The virus nationwide

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 24.1 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 24.6 million. Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise, and the U.S. continues to lead the world in numbers of cases and deaths by a wide margin.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 399,053.

At least 1,441 people died of the virus Monday in the U.S., and at least 142,587 new cases were reported. The numbers of new cases have decreased about 7% in the last 14 days, and the rate of deaths has increased by about 21%. About 123,848 people were in the hospital Monday for COVID-19, an increase of 2% in the past two weeks.

Since September, the average numbers of cases have risen steadily from about 35,000 new cases a day to peak at nearly 250,000 per day. Monday’s seven-day average was 207,495. The U.S. is also averaging more than 3,300 deaths per day. One week ago, Jan. 12, the nation set a new one-day record of COVID-19 deaths when 4,406 people died in a single day.

Surges in COVID-19 deaths in California and Arizona are fueling the monumental U.S. death toll, which is quickly nearing 400,000.

New York City has become a virus epicenter once again, reporting more than 6,100 new cases a day, while cases are down sharply across the Midwest.

The five worst-hit states are scattered around the country: Arizona, California, South Carolina, New York and Oklahoma are averaging the highest rate of new cases per 100,000 people. The states with the highest number of new cases reported in the last seven days include California, Texas, New York, Florida and Georgia.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Tuesday, Jan. 19

In Warren County, MSDH reported 14 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 3,548, and the county’s death toll is 98. The seven-day average of new cases in the county is about 38.4 per day, about 39% higher than the average of cases a month ago.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,193 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 255,125. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,881 per day, about 7% lower than the seven-day average a month ago. In January, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.

MSDH reported Tuesday that 51 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide and three more, bringing the cumulative number of deaths in the state to 5,575. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.2%. This rate drops when the number of cases is going up faster than the number of deaths.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. The current surge began in Mississippi in late October, and nearly 1,000 deaths were reported in December. The state is seeing record deaths in January after record case numbers in December, with 98 deaths reported Jan. 12 and 91 deaths Jan. 9.

Of the 51 deaths MSDH reported Tuesday, 16 occurred between Jan. 1 and Jan. 18 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Tuesday by MSDH
Desoto 2
Forrest 1
Jones 1
Lauderdale 3
Leflore 1
Madison 2
Newton 1
Oktibbeha 1
Scott 1
Tishomingo 1
Winston 2

An additional 35 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 18, 2021, and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Amite 1
Bolivar 1
Clarke 2
Covington 2
Desoto 3
George 1
Grenada 1
Harrison 1
Jackson 1
Jasper 1
Jefferson Davis 1
Jones 1
Lafayette 1
Lauderdale 2
Leake 1
Leflore 1
Marion 1
Marshall 1
Newton 1
Pearl River 1
Pike 1
Rankin 1
Smith 1
Sunflower 2
Tishomingo 2
Washington 1
Wayne 1
Yazoo 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily for two months beginning Nov. 4, 2020. Since Jan. 4, hospitalizations have been decreasing. Regardless, COVID-19 hospitalizations threaten the state’s health care system as never before.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, was 1,249. The number includes 1,188 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 61 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 336 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 193 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 207,769 through Sunday, Jan. 17. It represents about 81.4% of the cumulative 255,125 cases reported as of Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Dec. 29, was 2,604, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 2,506, or about 70.6% of the 3,548 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Jan. 19. The county has an estimated 944 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 Saturday, Jan. 16, is 1,987,621 or about 66.8% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results about once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (which shows whether enough testing is being done, positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 29.1% Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 10.4%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 214 Tuesday, an increase of five since Monday. About 33%, or 1,842, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 9,968 Tuesday, about 3.9% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 38 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 that information with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Jan. 3.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website or call the COVID-19 hotline seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at 877-978-6453 or 601-965-4071.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News