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Governor announces initiative to provide skills training to Mississippians

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Image from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security

Wednesday, Governor Tate Reeves announced launch of the ReSkill Mississippi initiative to help ease the economic burden and uncertainty this pandemic has created for our state’s workforce.

Mississippians who lost their jobs or had severe cutbacks and went on unemployment due to COVID-19 now have the opportunity to receive skills training at Mississippi community colleges to change jobs into high demand careers. Of the $1.25 billion in federal relief funds sent to Mississippi under the CARES Act, the Mississippi legislature appropriated $55 million to support our state’s workers and employers, which enabled the governor and a coalition of the state’s workforce leaders to create an innovative new program to train individuals for good-paying jobs most needed right now and into the future.

“While we are in the midst of a public health crisis, we are also fighting this disease on an economic front. Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians have been laid off during this pandemic. Countless Mississippi employers are struggling to make ends meet,” Reeves said in a statement. “ReSkill Mississippi is an effort to utilize CARES Act funds to not only get Mississippians back to work, but to get them skills training that will help them work in even better jobs than they may have had before COVID-19.”

ReSkillMS was created as a result of the Governor’s Commission on Economic Recovery’s recommendation that significant dollars from the CARES Act recovery funds be used for workforce training to help lift the economic burden on our workforce from COVID-19. The State Workforce Investment Board, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, and Mississippi’s four local workforce areas collaborated to develop the program to allow Mississippians out-of-work or those working reduced hours to “re-skill” in order to fill high-demand, high-paying jobs across our state.

“This program can have a major difference in the lives of Mississippians and in building a stronger economy in our state for the demands of tomorrow’s world,” said SWIB Chairman Patrick Sullivan. “Skilled jobs were in demand before COVID-19, and they will be in demand long after the pandemic is over. Getting more Mississippians the skills for higher paying jobs is going to be key if we are to see sustained economic growth.”

The governor made the announcement at today’s press briefing with SWIB Chairman Sullivan, which you can view on Reeves’ Facebook page here.

The direct beneficiaries of ReSkillMS will be Mississippians furloughed, laid off, or otherwise having economic damages and who received unemployment benefits from MDES, as well as Mississippi employers seeking to hire Mississippians immediately and train them on the job. Employers willing to hire and train individuals in the workplace are eligible to be reimbursed for up to 75% of the individual’s wages during the training period. The program requires a minimum fair wage threshold of $15-per-hour for employers to be eligible for reimbursements.

Individuals and employers interested in the program should go online to ReSkillMS.com to complete the appropriate survey. An official from Mississippi’s workforce offices nearby will reach out to the individual to guide them through the application process. If individuals have not heard from anyone within seven days of submitting an application, they can email [email protected] to follow up.

COVID-19

Mayor to hold news conference Friday on COVID-19

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Mayor George Flaggs Jr. at a news conference Oct. 8. (photo via video screen grab/Video by Thomas Parker)

 Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will hold a news conference Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the Robert M. Walker Building Board Room regarding COVID-19.

The current proclamation expires Monday, Nov. 2 at 8 a.m.

Look for updated information and plan to watch the news conference live on the Vicksburg Daily News Facebook page.

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COVID-19

Bethune-Cookman cancels all sports due to COVID-19

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Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (photo courtesy BCU Athletics)

Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Florida, has opted out of all sports for the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year including football and basketball due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university has ceased all student athletic activities until further notice out of an abundance of caution.

“In the face of a surging COVID-19 spike across much of the country and the State of Florida, we have concluded that the risks are too great for our student-athletes and staff to travel and compete at this time,” university President E. LaBrent Chrite said in a Thursday press release. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans will always be our top priority.”

Bethune-Cookman is in its final year playing in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and will be joining the SWAC conference in July 2021.

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Mississippi adds another 970 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

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With 970 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Mississippi Thursday, the state’s seven day average continues to creep upward toward 800. The Magnolia State is among the majority of U.S. states with rising case counts. Nationally, 81,457 cases were reported Wednesday, with the seven-day average rising 41% in the last two weeks. Deaths rose by 9% over the same period, with 1,016 deaths reported Wednesday.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,566, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 970 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 118,587. The seven-day average of new cases is 787, higher by 270 cases 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 Thursday that eight additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,310. 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.

The deaths MSDH reported Thursday occurred between Oct. 23 and Oct. 27 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Benton 1
Chickasaw 1
George 1
Hinds 1
Itawamba 1
Marion 1
Newton 1
Panola 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. 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. They have leveled off 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 85.5% of the cumulative 118,587 cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 29.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Oct. 8, was 1,452, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,396, or about 89.1% of the 1,566 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 29. 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 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 13.8% Wednesday, 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 Thursday. About 39.8%, or 1,317, 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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