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Extending COVID-19 resolution until May 4 and road repairs on supervisor’s agenda Monday

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Road repairs were among the topics discussed at this mornings Warren County Board of Supervisors work session (photo by Thomas Parker)

Two issues dominated the Warren County Board of Supervisors work session this morning: extending the shelter in place order and work on the county’s roads.

The bi-weekly session was held via teleconference on Monday, April 13.

The first topic of conversation was how to proceed regarding the current shelter-in-place resolution in the county as it relates to the COVID-19 crisis. The state proclamation expires next Monday, April 20, which is also the date on which the county’s proclamation expires.

The consensus among supervisors was to extend the current guidelines for another three weeks, until Monday, May 4.

Board President Dr. Jeffrey Holland said the governor should be making a statement regarding this issue at some point this week, and Board Attorney Blake Teller was instructed to prepare a document for next Monday’s regular board meeting to extend the date for the current proclamation.

County Engineer Keith O’Keefe of Neel-Schaffer reported on the progress of repairing the county’s roads toward the end of the meeting.

O’Keefe reported that he had received approval from the Federal Highway Administration on three federally subsidized road-repair projects on Friday. These include Flowers Hill, Oak Ridge and Redwood roads. The estimates on Ballground and Tiffentown roads were approved on April 6 by the board. These five projects will not be handled by the Warren County Road Department but will be put out for bids. Collectively the five repairs are estimated at $3.4 million.

If completed by August, 100% of the costs will be paid for with federal funds. If the repairs go beyond mid-August, the county is looking at an 80/20 match, where Warren County would be expected to pay 20% of the costs.

O’Keefe said he will present the estimates along with engineering proposals on the Redwood Road project to the board next Monday for the its review and approval.

O’Keefe then brought Richard Sosebee onto the call. Sosebee is a Neel-Schaffer employee with extensive experience with federally funded projects. He has been brought in to work with County Administrator Loretta Brantley, Warren County Emergency Management Agency Director John Elfer and others to ensure the county completes the documentation in a correct and timely manner to receive all applicable federal and state funding on eligible projects related to storm damage.

Among other topics discussed was the June 23 runoff election in the 2nd Congressional District. Supervisors agreed that paper ballots will be used for this election due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.

Attorney Teller brought up two Port Commission matters for board approval. First, Vicksmetal Armco Group wants to exercise its option to purchase a tract of land on the harbor. The company has been leasing the property for many years and has always paid its lease in a timely manner. The three-acre tract is adjacent to the company’s manufacturing facility on Haining Road. Second, Teller reported that Ergon wants to renew an ongoing lease agreement at a rate of $10,750 a month.

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson proposed the board explore the use of a grant writer to apply for all possible state and federal funds for county projects. District 2 Supervisor William Banks responded by saying that doing so in the middle of a budget year was not a good move in his opinion, however, the other four supervisors agreed to explore whether a grant writer could be paid on contingency from the funds they secure.

Finally, the matter of whether to meet in person next Monday was addressed. Jackson proposed meeting via teleconference. District 1 Supervisor Edward Herring said he didn’t care if they met in a football stadium but felt the formal meeting should be held in person. The consensus was the meeting will be held next Monday at 9 a.m. in the board meeting room with a limit on attendees to comply with social distancing recommendations.

COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School District reports four new COVID-19 cases

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The Vicksburg Warren School District is reporting four new COVID-19 cases for the week of Oct. 19 through Oct. 23, 2020.

Additionally, 22 students, teachers and staff are under new quarantines due to possible exposure in the same time period.

The following schools reported new cases and quarantines:

Academy of Innovation
1 new positive case – student
5 quarantined – students

Bowmar Avenue Elementary
2 new positive cases – teacher/staff
1 quarantined – teacher/staff
13 quarantined – students

River City Early College
1 quarantined – student

Warren Central Intermediate School
1 new positive case – teacher/staff
1 quarantined teacher/staff

Central Office Staff 
1 new quarantined – staff

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COVID-19

Ridgeland High football and basketball teams quarantined

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The Madison County School District has ordered the Ridgeland High School football team to quarantine due to three positive COVID-19 tests.

The Titans will quarantine at home for 14 days, which means they will not play Friday. The team was scheduled to play Holmes County Central Friday for their last game of the regular season, but the game has been canceled giving the Holmes Jaguars a big district forfeit win.

The team ends the season with a 6-2 record, only losing one district game due to Friday’s forfeit to the Jaguars. They will likely head into the playoffs after the quarantine.

The Titans boy’s basketball team has also been ordered to suspend practice and quarantine and will not be able continue practice until the end of the two week period.

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COVID-19 continues surging nationwide; 854 new cases in Mississippi Tuesday

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With the beginning of what most now see as a fall surge in COVID-19 cases, nearly a half-million Americans were diagnosed with the virus in the past week. New outbreaks have been reported in every region of the country, but the rural midwest has been hit especially hard. Nationally, the seven-day average is nearly 70,000 new cases per day, the highest since the start of the crisis.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves has put 16 counties under more restrictive COVID-19 measures including mandating masks in nearly all indoor spaces other than polling places.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported nine new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,560, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 854 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 116,617. The seven-day average of new cases is 756, higher by 257 cases — about a third — 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 20 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,283. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

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 20 deaths MSDH reported Tuesday, 19 occurred between Oct. 22 and Oct. 26 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Tuesday
Benton 2
Calhoun 1
Clarke 2
Clay 1
Covington 2
Itawamba 1
Jackson 2
Lee 2
Leflore 1
Lincoln 2
Marshall 1
Oktibbeha 1
Sharkey 1

One additional COVID-19 death occurred Sept. 21 in Hinds County and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26. 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 rising since then with a flattening this past week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, is 678, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 572 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 106 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 159 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 63 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 101,385 through Sunday, Oct. 25. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 86.9% of the cumulative 116,617 cases reported as of Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Oct. 6, was 1,438, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,382, or about 88.6% of the 1,560 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Oct. 27. The county has an estimated 122 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, Oct. 10 (the latest testing results reported by MSDH), is 900,479 or about 30.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Without an updated number of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average), however, the rate was 16.6% Thursday, Oct. 22, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 6.3%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 134 Tuesday. About 40%, or 1,304, 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. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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