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Flaggs to decide on extending or canceling COVID-19 precautions for city employees on Monday



Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will make the decision on whether to extend Phase 1 of Vicksburg’s COVID-19 Civil Emergency Plan or go back to business as usual on Monday, March 30. The terms of Phase 1 of the plan, which covered city employees, expires March 31.

“We are in Phase 2, and I’ve got a Phase 3 ready to go that is much tougher than Phase 2 or 1,” Flaggs said during a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Wednesday, March 25. “We may be more strict than the governor.”

Flaggs said having a special meeting on Monday will give city employees the chance to make preparations to come back to work Wednesday, if necessary. 

The numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mississippi continues to grow. As of Wednesday morning, Mississippi has 377 confirmed cases and two deaths related to COVID-19, but no cases confirmed in Warren County. 

“A lot of rumors are going on,” Flaggs said. “We don’t have any cases in Vicksburg. I believe if we continue to do what we’ve asked you to do, we will be safe in Vicksburg and Warren County.”

Flaggs made reference to social distancing, including putting six feet or more between individuals and not congregating with more than 10 people at a time. Continue to wash and sanitize your hands.

The mayor takes pride in his relationships with state and national leaders and has a scheduled conference call with White House officials along with 1,000 other callers to discuss future actions to fight the virus, but Flaggs has his own agenda for the call. 

“As we talk about small businesses and we talk about the middle man, let’s see if there’s a way to reimburse churches for their economic loss as it relates to this. I just believe it’s only fair,” he said.

Flaggs understands there are constitutional rules separating church and state, but he feels small churches may not have the tithes or other resources that larger churches have. 

“I believe we are our brother’s keeper, and everybody has been impacted by this—the churches, too,” he said. 

All recreational parks remain closed within city limits, including parks with playground equipment for children.

“Children are out of school, and they have a tendency to get on them,” Flaggs said. “We have to make decisions based on the children.”

Flaggs said the virus can live on iron than any other material and the majority of the playground equipment is metal and iron. 

According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine the virus that causes COVID-19 can live in the air and on surfaces from several hours to several days. The study found that the virus is viable in very small amounts for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard and four hours on copper, though the likelihood of infection from a surface is unlikely. It is also detectable in the air for three hours. People are more likely to contract the virus from someone next to them than from surfaces, according to Carolyn Machamer, a professor of cell biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

North Ward Aldermen Micheal Mayfield mentioned a concern from a resident that stores are running out of items the night before they open their doors early for the elderly. Once the vulnerable adults arrive, they cannot get what they need. 

The mayor said that decision and concern is left for store managers, but buyers should stop panic buying and hoarding.

“If you can, by any means, go into the grocery store, please don’t buy no more than what you need,” Flaggs said. “I finally got some bananas because Kroger has run out, so everybody is missing something they want.”

“Let’s just be cautious,” he said, adding, “Leave some. We all need to share.”


Vicksburg Warren School District reports four new COVID-19 cases



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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Ridgeland High football and basketball teams quarantined



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



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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