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Flaggs and Mayfield both scouting locations for a new animal shelter, but not together



This Oak Street property is at the top of both lists for a new animal shelter site. (photos by David Day)

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield are both working to select a new animal shelter site, but not together.

Flaggs met with Animal Control Supervisor Kacie Lindsey this morning to discuss new locations for the animal shelter. Mayfield was not at the meeting.

Of two primary locations, they all but ruled out one of them. The former rubber recycling plant location on U.S. Highway 61 South was seen as problematic for several reasons: The soil is suspect, it sits in a flood plain, there may be sewer issues, and it is a long way for city residents to drive to volunteer or adopt a family pet.

Flaggs and Lindsey favored a location on Oak Street, site of the former Maynard’s Landscaping. It is in the heart of the city, the size of the lot is good, and the landowner is willing to work with the city to transfer the property. The property’s price was not mentioned.

At a well-attended meeting earlier this month, Vicksburg resident Marilyn Terry brought up the idea of a prefab structure that is being used in other locations. Flaggs and Lindsey agreed that the structure would be alright for the dogs—maybe—but not for other shelter animals. Additionally, Lindsey is not having any luck finding a good reference for the structures.

“I can’t find anyone that has, um, actually purchased them,” she said.

Lindsey did offer up her idea of how a shelter should look. The current shelter is outdated and sits in a floodplain, two reasons a new site is being sought by the city. It had been adapted from a dog-food manufacturing company.

A third location on Holly Street was mentioned, but it is in the early stages of development. A prominent member of the adjacent House of Peace Worship Church had strong opposition to using the property for an animal shelter.

This Holly Street property =is under consideration for relocating the animal shelter.

Alderman Mayfield was not at the meeting between Flaggs and Lindsey although the shelter falls under his responsibilities. “I didn’t know anything about them having a meeting this morning,” he said.

“I’ve been meeting with Kacie [Lindsey],” he added. “I met with Miss Terry the other day and Jeff [Richardson]. She’s working on some stuff for me.”

Mayfield said he has been looking at all three locations discussed by Flaggs and Lindsey.

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield at his desk this morning, Feb. 27, 2020.

“The Mayor is having meetings on it and at the same time, I’m having meetings on it,” he said. “So, you know, one hand doesn’t actually know what the other hand is doing. I’m supposed to be the one heading this thing up. If the Mayor feels he wants to head it up, I don’t have a problem with that. Not at all. But make your mind up and who is going to head it up and who is going to do what.”

In spite of an apparent miscommunication issue at the top levels, both Flaggs and Mayfield are working toward getting a new animal shelter for Vicksburg.



Mississippi sets new one-day COVID-19 case record Saturday with 1,972 reported



Mississippi zoomed past the previous one-day record of new COVID-19 cases Saturday, with the Mississippi State Department of Health reporting 1,972. The previous record of 1,775 new cases was reported July 30.

Three weeks into November, the number of new cases reported is more than all the cases reported in October.

The state’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb toward the numbers seen in this summer’s surge. Saturday, the average neared 1,300 per day. A steep rise in hospitalizations is accompanying the rise in new cases, threatening once again to overwhelm the state’s health care system.

Across the U.S., the surge is gathering speed. Friday, at least 198,500 new cases were reported, another record, and the seven-day average of new cases is quickly approaching 200,000 per day. Cases are rising in 47 states. Hospitalizations are soaring as well, with more than 82,000 patients.

Friday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it has submitted its application for emergency use of its vaccine to the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Approval is expected to take about three weeks. If approved, the vaccine could be available to high-risk groups such as health-care workers and the elderly before the end of the year.

In Warren County, MSDH reported 16 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,707, and the county’s death toll is 56. Although the county has been spared the huge increases seen elsewhere, the 14-day average has risen from about five cases per day to nearly 7 cases in the past few weeks. No deaths have been reported in the county in November.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,972 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, the highest one-day increase since the crisis began, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 142,401. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,294 per day, about 536 cases and nearly 60% higher than the seven-day average a month ago. The average is on par with numbers seen in July.

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 Saturday that 15 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,657. 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 in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.

The deaths MSDH reported Saturday occurred between Nov. 13 and Nov. 20 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Saturday
Holmes 1
Jackson 3
Jefferson Davis 1
Lafayette 1
Lee 1
Madison 1
Pearl River 1
Perry 1
Rankin 1
Tate 1
Walthall 1
Yazoo 1

Another six COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Oct. 31 and Nov. 13 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
DeSoto 2
Harrison 1
Marshall 2
Sharkey 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20. 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 were levelling off; however, since Nov. 4 hospitals have seen a steady rise in COVID-19 patients once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, was 965, about 80% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 863 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 225 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 99 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 81.9% of the cumulative 142,401 cases reported as of Saturday, Nov. 21.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Saturday, Oct. 31, was 1,576, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,520, or about 89% of the 1,707 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Nov. 21. The county has an estimated 131 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 statewide test results 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 19.7% Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 10%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 173 Saturday, an increase of three since Friday. About 38.3%, or 1,400, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 7,384, about 5.2% of the state’s total cases.

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. 6.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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CDC recommends people not travel for Thanksgiving



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people not travel to Thanksgiving celebrations this year.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with, the agency writes on its website.

Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.

Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household,” said the CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz.

More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last seven days.

The CDC offers guidance having a safe Thanksgiving, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing in addition to hygiene recommendations such as frequent hand-washing. Also recommended are alternatives to big gatherings such as sharing meals virtually and playing games at home with the family.

For more information, visit the CDC website.

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Silver Alert issued for Amite County man



Ronnie Ray Ratcliff (photo courtesy MBI)

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has issued a Silver Alert for Ronnie Ray Ratcliff, 67, of Summit, Mississippi, in Amite County.

Ratcliff is a white male, 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds with black and gray hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen Monday, Nov. 16, in the 6500 block of North Greensburg Road in Amite County.

Ratcliff is believed to be in a 2009 aluminum Chevrolet Silverado bearing Mississippi license plate DBN755 traveling in an unknown direction. The Chevrolet has damage to the front passenger side.

Family members say Ratcliff suffers from a medical condition that may impair his judgement.

If anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of Ronnie Ray Ratcliff call the Amite County Sheriff Department at 601-657-8057.

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