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Bethune-Cookman cancels all sports due to COVID-19

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Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (photo courtesy BCU Athletics)

Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Florida, has opted out of all sports for the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year including football and basketball due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university has ceased all student athletic activities until further notice out of an abundance of caution.

“In the face of a surging COVID-19 spike across much of the country and the State of Florida, we have concluded that the risks are too great for our student-athletes and staff to travel and compete at this time,” university President E. LaBrent Chrite said in a Thursday press release. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans will always be our top priority.”

Bethune-Cookman is in its final year playing in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and will be joining the SWAC conference in July 2021.

COVID-19

Reeves puts seven more counties under mask mandates

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Gov. Tate Reeves providing a COVID-19 update from home Nov. 12 (image from video screen capture)

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Monday that seven additional counties have qualified to be under more restrictive conditions due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The conditions, listed under his “Safe Recovery” executive order in effect through Dec. 11, include wearing masks in almost all public places.

Counties added to the list Monday are Hinds, Madison, Pontotoc, Tate, Winston, Itawamba and Montgomery. Added to the 15 counties already under more restrictive conditions, Mississippi now has 22 of its 82 counties included in the executive order.

“Let’s keep fighting COVID. Let’s protect ourselves and protect our neighbors,” Reeves said in a statement. “Let’s also keep praying. I believe if we work together, we can make a difference. We can slow the spread and bridge the gap between now and when this vaccine becomes readily available and protect the integrity of our health care system.”

The seven-day average of new cases in Mississippi is currently over 1,000. The state is part of a nationwide surge that is averaging more than 150,000 new cases daily from coast to coast.

Two vaccines have recently shown great promise in early testing. Neither is expected to be available to the general public until the spring of 2021.

The governor and his family are self-isolating after his youngest daughter tested positive for the virus.

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COVID-19

Three Vicksburg police officers test positive for COVID-19

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(Image by Felipe Esquivel Reed, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87846813)

Three officers of the Vicksburg Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division have tested positive for COVID-19.

Monday, the department announced the results of tests completed earlier in the day.

The officers, who will not be named, will be quarantined for up to 14 days.

The department reminds the public to wear masks when conducting business at the police station.

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COVID-19

Mississippi’s 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases remains over 1,000 Monday

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Mississippi’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases remains over 1,000 per day Monday, with more than 1,500 cases reported to the Mississippi State Department of Health Saturday and Sunday.

Nationwide, cases are up more than 80 percent in the last two weeks and deaths have increased more than 39%. The U.S. has reported more than 11 million cases and nearly 250,000 deaths.

So far, Warren County has largely escaped the huge increases in cases and deaths. Some 15 counties in the state are under expanded COVID-19 restriction, having reported more than 200 cases in a two-week period. In Warren County, MSDH reported eight new COVID-19 cases Sunday, three cases Monday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,660, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 969 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 589 cases Monday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 134,898. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,099, about 300 higher than the seven-day average a month ago, and on par with numbers in late July and early August.

At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In September, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi were 18 to 24 years old. That has shifted to a slightly older group. In November, 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 Sunday that three more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide and reported Monday another two died. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,545. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.6%. This rate has dropped slightly as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.

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.

The three deaths MSDH reported Sunday occurred between Sept. 3 and Nov. 13 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Sunday
Coahoma 1
Prentiss 1
Yalobusha 1

The two deaths MSDH reported Monday occurred Nov. 14 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Monday
Pontotoc 1
Winston 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, and Sunday, Nov. 15. 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 tripled by late July.

Hospitalizations then steadily dropped through Oct. 3 when they began rising again along with increased cases. The last week in October, hospitalizations began levelling off; however, the past week has seen a steady rise in hospitalizations once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, was 807, about 67% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 723 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 84 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 180 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 96 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 116,683 through Sunday, Nov. 15. It represents about 86.5% of the cumulative 134,898 cases reported as of Monday, Nov. 16.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Oct. 26, was 1,551, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,495, or about 90% of the 1,660 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Nov. 14. The county has an estimated 109 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, Nov. 14, is 1,165,593 or about 39.2% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports tests once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average), however, the rate was 17.2% Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 9.8%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 145 Monday. About 38.8%, or 1,375, 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 by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 1.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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