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COVID-19

Flaggs warns Vicksburg is on the verge of becoming a COVID-19 hot spot

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Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. during a live news conference June 24. (Photo via video screen grab)

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. warned Wednesday that Warren County and Vicksburg is on the verge of becoming a hot spot of COVID-19 infections.

“If we don’t mitigate this and don’t turn it around, it’s going to be beyond my control as mayor,” he said. If Warren County is designated as a hot spot, the state will impose additional restrictions for businesses and residents.

In a live news conference Wednesday morning, Flaggs said he is extending the city’s civil emergency proclamation for another two weeks through July 13.

“We have to be more cautious and use more precautions, and we have to practice social distancing,” he added. “We have to practice the use of masks.”

The city is adding restrictions to the July 4 fireworks show, including asking people to stay in their vehicles.

As of Tuesday, Warren County has reported 347 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths. More than 600 new cases were reported statewide Tuesday, the single highest number of new cases since the crisis began.

Flaggs said code enforcement personnel will be out performing random checks in the community’s businesses to ensure COVID-19 restrictions are being adhered to. If a business is in violation, it will be fined.

“This is not business as usual,” Flaggs said. “This is the new normal.”

He reminded the audience that the city can levy a $1,000 fine if limitations on numbers of individuals allowed into stores and in gatherings such as funerals, social distancing and hygiene guidelines are not being followed.

“It’s personal responsibility time,” he said.

Watch the entire news conference on our Facebook page.

COVID-19

Kroger to offer rapid COVID-19 antibody tests

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(photo source: Kroger)

Kroger announced Wednesday that it will soon offer rapid COVID-19 antibody tests for $25 in its pharmacies.

Antibody tests detect whether a person has had COVID-19 in the past. They do not detect active infections. The test will be taken by a small sample of blood from the finger and results will be ready within 15 minutes.

At this time, the tests are offered in California and Michigan, but Kroger expects to have the tests in all of their pharmacies by the end of November.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroger Heath has remained committed to helping people live healthier lives by offering in-clinic and at-home COVID-19 testing solutions supported by our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained and experienced health care providers,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health in a statement. “Making rapid antibody testing available across our family of pharmacies will not only provide an affordable and convenient testing solution for individuals who want to understand if they have previously been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, but also help clinicians understand the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and potential public health strategies for fighting the disease.”

Research is still underway to determine how long antibodies are present following infection and if the presence of antibodies provides protective immunity. Regardless of the testing result, all patients should continue to practice FDA-recommended safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing masks.

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Mississippi reports 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

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So far in October, more than half of all U.S. states have reported record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. Missouri is the only state that is reporting a significant drop in new cases. With increased cases come increased hospitalizations. Wisconsin, for example, has set up a field hospital at the state fairgrounds. Deaths, which are a lagging indicator, have also increased in the past couple of weeks, but not as quickly as new cases.

In Mississippi, the number of new reported cases hit 1,000 Wednesday, driving the seven-day average up to nearly 800 per day.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported one new COVID-19 case Wednesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,561, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 117,617. The seven-day average of new cases is 785, higher by 286 cases — more than a third higher— 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 Wednesday that 19 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,302. 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 19 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 13 occurred between Oct. 15 and Oct. 27 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Adams 1
Attala 1
Benton 2
Bolivar 1
Chickasaw 1
Desoto 1
Harrison 1
Jefferson Davis 1
Lamar 1
Tippah 1
Yalobusha 2

Six COVID-19 related deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Aug. 19 and Oct. 20 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Bolivar 1
Humphreys 1
Jackson 1
Lamar 1
Washington 1
Wilkinson 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. 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 began rising since then. The have leveled off again this week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, is 666, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 577 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 89 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 62 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 117,617 cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Oct. 7, was 1,443, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,387, or about 88.9% of the 1,561 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 28. The county has an estimated 118 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. 17 (the latest testing results reported by MSDH), is 949,085 or about 31.9% 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 6.2%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 132 Wednesday. About 39.8%, or 1,315, 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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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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