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Dr. Daniel Edney: ‘It’s time for people to take this seriously’

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Dr. Daniel Edney (photo from the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure)

One of the doctors at the Medical Associates of Vicksburg is Dr. Daniel Edney, who specializes in internal medicine. He is also one of ten physicians serving on Mississippi’s COVID-19 coronavirus task force.

“We must flatten the curve to stem the tide of this virus,” Edney told the Vicksburg Daily News. Flattening the curve means to slow a virus’ spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment at any given time. It explains why implementing social distancing guidelines are so important. Many U.S. cities, including New Orleans, La., are issuing shelter-in-place orders to keep people from congregating.

“We must listen to the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and follow the recommendations of social distancing and limiting contact with potential carriers,” Edney said.

Hospitals generally operate at 80 to 90 percent capacity under normal circumstances, which means health-care facilities could quickly become overwhelmed if a big influx of patients need to be hospitalized. In New York State, which currently has the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., hospitals are already running out of supplies and ventilators.

“It is critically important that we make every effort to keep this out of our health-care facilities unless the patient is above the threshold for hospitalization,” Edney said, adding that patients will generally be directed to quarantine at home unless presenting with a fever of 102 degrees or above.

“We know the virus is in Vicksburg,” Edney said. “It’s just a matter of receiving an official confirmation.”

COVID-19 is highly infectious. Estimates are that every infected person will infect two to three more people if social distancing is not strictly observed.

“It’s time for people to take this seriously—no elective surgeries or unnecessary medical office visits. No dental appointments. Contact your health-care provider for guidance,” Edney said.

Like other physicians in Mississippi, Edney is using telemedicine video conferencing whenever possible to consult with his patients. For those who must come to the clinic, Medical Associates has established protocols to protect their patients and staff.

Edney stressed that people should not just show up at a clinic or emergency room. Every facility has procedures in place to stem the tide of the pandemic, and most will pre-screen patients by phone before setting an appointment.

The doctor added that he is closely monitoring the situation in South Korea. Health officials there put certain things in place quickly to prevent the spread of the virus, including setting up quick, no-cost drive-through testing clinics using tests that provide a fast turnaround. It also pulled doctors and nurses from its military forces to help civilian hospitals. Above all, the country instituted a policy of absolute transparency in getting information out to the public. They have probably made more progress than anyone in Asia, Edney said.

The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has shown some results in treating the virus, Edney mentioned. However, the evidence is “thin” and anecdotal, according to Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Regardless, Bayer AG, Novartis and other pharmaceutical companies have agreed to donate millions of hydroxychloroquine pills to the U.S. government for potential use with COVID-19 patients once the drug is approved for them.

“I don’t think this will be an apocalyptic event,” Edney said, although, with some countries completely opaque in their testing and reporting, the statistics could be much higher than we know.

“The vast majority will survive,” he said.

The public needs to pay attention and listen to professional opinions, Edney warned “We need the public to cooperate. More resources are arriving daily.”

Mississippi is in the early stages of setting up mobile testing stations, some of which will likely be manned with Mississippi National Guard health providers. Some form of mobile or drive-through testing will become available in Warren County for symptomatic patients. The state also has ventilators coming from the federal stockpile.

Edney encouraged people to continue to support local businesses by getting food-to-go and using drive-through and curbside pickup options. He also cautioned those over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions to stay at home and avoid crowds whenever possible.

“If we all work together and listen to trusted, sourced information we can survive this,” he said.

Business

Vicksburg inks deal with Viking River Cruises valued at $2.5 million

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The Viking Mississippi (image source: Viking USA)

Although Vicksburg hasn’t seen a riverboat docking in months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped the city or the companies running riverboat cruises from planning for the future.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced Tuesday that the city had signed an agreement with Viking USA, the parent company of Viking River Cruises. The contract includes $2.5 million in improvements that Viking will make to the waterfront. According to its website, Viking will begin Mississippi River cruises beginning in October 2022.

“This is a big win for Vicksburg’s future at no cost to taxpayers,” Flaggs wrote in a social media post Tuesday.

The agreement states that Viking will build a floating dock to accommodate its boats and a 10-foot wide sidewalk leading to parking and a pedestrian crossing over nearby railroad tracks. It could also include utility tie-ins, benches, pavilions, curbing, striping and signage Viking may want to add.

The city included the pedestrian crossing in its waterfront improvement plan announced in September.

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Crime

Former community college employee arrested for embezzlement

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(photo courtesy of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor)

Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested former Northeast Mississippi Community College employee, Amy Haynie, after she was indicted for embezzlement. Hanie was issued a $68,762.87 demand letter upon her arrest. That demand total includes interest and investigative expenses.

Amy Haynie (photo courtesy of Mississippi Office of the State Auditor)

Haynie is accused of embezzling cash from a college petty cash fund and from students as they paid various college-related fees. Investigators determined over $57,000 was stolen from the college. Haynie was able to hide the alleged scheme from May 2016 to February 2020 because the internal controls in her office allowed her to manipulate records of how cash was collected and deposited.

“The auditor’s office is committed to putting a stop to all fraud, but particularly fraud that involves theft from the students of Mississippi,” said Auditor White. “These are not victimless crimes. We will continue to pursue cases like these to make sure every dollar is spent in accordance with the law.”

Haynie surrendered to Special Agents at the Prentiss County Jail. Her bond was set at $10,000 by the court.

If convicted, Haynie faces up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. All persons arrested by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The case will be prosecuted by the office of District Attorney John Weddle.

A $10,000 surety bond covers Haynie’s employment at Northeast Mississippi Community College. A surety bond is similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption. Haynie will remain liable for the full amount of the demand in addition to criminal proceedings.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the Auditor’s office online any time by clicking the red button at www.osa.ms.gov or via telephone during normal business hours at 1-(800)-321-1275.

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COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School District reports eight new COVID-19 cases and 47 quarantined

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The Vicksburg Warren School District reports eight new COVID-19 cases in schools for the week of Nov. 9 through Nov. 13.

In addition, 47 individuals were newly quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus in the same time period.

The following schools were affected:

Beechwood Elementary School 

  • 2 quarantined – teachers/staff
  • 3 quarantined – students

River City Early College

  • 2 new positive cases – teachers/staff
  • 1 new positive case – student
  • 6 quarantined – students

Vicksburg High School

  • 1 new positive case – teacher/staff
  • 4 new positive cases – students
  • 5 quarantined – teachers/staff
  • 30 quarantined – students

Vicksburg Junior High School

  • 1 quarantined – teacher/staff
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