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COVID-19

Gov. Reeves statement on Tuesday’s COVID-19 executive orders

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in his May 1 Facebook live address. (Photo via video screen grab)

Tuesday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced two new executive orders to delay public school reopenings in target counties and establish a statewide mask mandate in the ongoing fight against this unprecedented pandemic.

“Here’s the bottom line: We have to balance the very real risk of the virus and the lifelong damage of school closures. To do that, we have to safely provide education for the greatest possible number of children,” Reeves said at Tuesday’s press briefing. “The best way to accomplish that is to provide guidelines, allow local school leaders to tailor them, and step in with the authority of state government where it is absolutely necessary. That is what we’re doing today. This is the beginning of that effort, not the end.”

Working closely with officials in the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi State Department of Health, Reeves is directing school districts in counties with higher risk of community transmission and recent spikes in new cases to delay the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Under Executive Order No. 1517, school districts in the following counties must delay their reopening for grades 7-12 until Monday, Aug. 17: Bolivar, Coahoma, Forrest, George, Hinds, Panola, Sunflower and Washington counties. The new executive order includes a statewide mask mandate for schools, instructing all Mississippians to wear a mask when inside a school building or classroom, or outside on a school campus when social distancing is not possible.

To combat rising cases and ramp up response efforts across the state, Governor Reeves also issued a statewide mask mandate for all Mississippians to wear a mask when in public, with exceptions including for children under 6 years old, those who cannot cover their face for medical or behavioral conditions, and those at religious worship. Going into effect Wednesday morning, Mississippians must wear a mask when they’re inside a business, school, or any place open to the public, or when at an outdoor public space where social distancing is not possible.

The Governor made the announcements at today’s press briefing, which you can view on his Facebook page.

You can view the signed versions of the new executive orders here: Executive Order No. 1516, Executive Order No. 1517. Signed versions of all executive orders related to COVID-19 can be found the governor’s website.

COVID-19

801 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday in Mississippi; seven-day average a third higher than last month

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New COVID-19 cases remain high in Mississippi, with the seven-day average one-third higher than it was at this time in September.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Wednesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,532, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 801 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 112,123. The seven-day average of new cases is 758, higher by 253 cases, about one-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 Wednesday that 21 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,223. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.9%.

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 21 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 12 occurred between Aug. 11 and Oct. 19 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Forrest 1
Hinds 3
Jackson 2
Jones 1
Lauderdale 1
Lincoln 1
Panola 1
Pearl River 1
Washington 1

Nine COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Aug. 19 and Oct. 14, identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Clarke 1
George 1
Issaquena 1
Jones 1
Lauderdale 2
Perry 1
Washington 1
Itawamba 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 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 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 showing a rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, is 653, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 541 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 112 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 151 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 70 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 97,675 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 87.1% of the cumulative 112,123 cases reported Wednesday, Oct. 21.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Sept. 30, was 1,418, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,363, or about 89% of the 1,532 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 21. The county has an estimated 114 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 Thursday, Oct. 15, is 900,479 or about 30.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 17.8% Tuesday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 127 Tuesday. About 40.1%, or 1,293, 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. 4.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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COVID-19

USM interim head coach tests positive for COVID-19

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USM interim head coach COVID-19
Scotty Walden (photo courtesy USM Athletics)

The University of Southern Mississippi’s interim head football coach Scotty Walden has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Earlier this morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” Walden said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “I am fine and have mild to no symptoms. I am quarantining back home until it is safe to rejoin the team. I want to thank Golden Eagle Nation for all of their support for our program during this difficult period. I want to thank our players and staff for continuing to be incredibly resilient during such an unstable time.

“Our team will continue to work diligently in preparation for our game this Saturday against Liberty.”

Walden is self isolating at his home and will continue to oversee the program remotely.

The Golden Eagles’ last two games were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns but as of now their game against Liberty this coming Saturday is still on schedule.

 

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COVID-19

Vicksburg Warren School Districts reports nine new COVID-19 cases and 64 in quarantine

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The Vicksburg Warren School District reports nine new COVID-19 cases in its schools for the week of Oct. 12 through Oct. 16.

In addition, 64 students, teachers and staff members are newly quarantined due to possible exposure to the virus during in the same time period.

Cases and quarantines were reported in the following schools:

Academy of Innovation
10 quarantined – students

Beechwood Elementary
2 new positive cases – staff
1 new positive case – student
5 quarantined – student

Bovina Elementary
1 new positive case – student

Dana Road Elementary
1 new positive case – teacher/staff
1 new positive case – student
12 quarantined – students

Warren Central High School
1 new positive case – student
20 quarantined – students

Warren Central Junior High
2 new positive cases – teachers/staff
7 quarantined – teachers/staff
10 quarantined – students

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