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Hinds CC prepares health-care workers for the fight against COVID-19

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Jeremy Evans and Beaty Hill are two of the students at Hinds preparing for careers in health care. (Photos courtesy Hinds CC)

Health-care workers on the front lines of the battle to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mississippi and the nation can expect reinforcements from health-care programs at Hinds Community College.

Nursing and allied health programs at Hinds rate among the best in the region, with four programs earning re-accreditation last year – Associate Degree Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care Technology and Surgical Technology.

Students earning credentials this semester are joining the workforce fully prepared to partner with medical professionals to control the highly contagious respiratory syndrome. And they’re touting all the other benefits of a Hinds education.

“I chose Hinds because of its highly-rated nursing program,” said Ashlea Beatty, a Scott County native who is studying nursing at the Rankin Campus. “If you ask around the local hospitals, they eagerly hire Hinds nursing graduates. And a beneficial perk is that it is conveniently located within a reasonable driving distance for me.”

Beaty Hill, of Flowood, a nursing student at Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center, asked around after high school where she should consider training for a medical career. The choice, she said, was obvious.

“The majority of those I talked to had nothing but good things to say about Hinds and the nursing program specifically,” Hill said. “Almost every nurse that I talked to said that they would be willing to hire a nurse that came from Hinds over any other nursing student.”

All Hinds students have had to continue their coursework online since March 23. Students such as Hill and Beatty, and Jeremy Evans, a Rankin Campus student who plans to attend medical school after Hinds, say instructors and employees have helped ease the stress of finishing their respective class loads.

“The sudden switch to online classes caused a bit of discordance in all aspects of life,” Evans said. “That being said, Dean Gary Fox, Dr. Norman Session, Kathy Huff and everyone from the Honors Center in Raymond and Rankin have been the most helpful people in my journey at Hinds.”

Beatty has accepted a job on the neurology floor at St. Dominic’s Hospital after graduation and plans to continue at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and, eventually, become a nurse educator. Hill begins pursuing her bachelor’s in nursing at the end of May and starts in July a position at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, in the pediatric care unit.

“I hope to bring competent, safe and patient-oriented care to the workplace and help in this ongoing battle,” Beatty said.

Health care is a calling, they all said, and the call to duty couldn’t be clearer given the fight to control and eventually vaccinate against the virus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

“It takes a special person to face not only COVID-19 but the numerous other situations that health-care workers deal with every day,” Beatty said.

And the rewards of the health-care career path go beyond all the accolades they’ll carry on their academic resume’.

“We are needed more than ever right now, and I am ready to graduate into the workforce so that I can help,” Hill said. “It makes my career choice a thousand times more rewarding to help stop the spread of a pandemic.”

COVID-19

Governor adds seven counties to list of those under stricter COVID-19 measures

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Gov. Tate Reeves during April 22 news conference. (Photo via video screen grab)

Monday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves added seven counties to the list of those in the state that will fall under more restrictive COVID-19 measures effective Wednesday, Oct. 21.

With cases and hospitalizations rising in the state, last week Reeves put nine counties under the stricter measures, which include a mask mandate in nearly all indoor situations other than at voting precincts.

The 16 counties are:

  • Benton
  • Carroll
  • Chickasaw
  • Claiborne
  • DeSoto
  • Forrest
  • Harrison
  • Itawamba
  • Jackson
  • Jones
  • Lamar
  • Leake
  • Lee
  • Madison
  • Marshall
  • Neshoba

The governor’s criteria for stricter measures includes more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents or more than 200 cases over a two-week period. The most recent period under scrutiny was Monday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 18.

The measures also mandate hospitals to reserve 10% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients, and limit gathering to groups of 10 indoors and 50 outdoors.

Asked why Reeves excluded polling places from the mandates, the governor indicated he would not interfere with a citizen’s right to vote by forcing voters to wear masks. He does expect most voters to wear masks at the polls and to practice social distancing, however.

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Business

Vicksburg’s China Buffet reopens for dine-in service Nov. 4

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(photo via Facebook, used with permission)

The China Buffet of Vicksburg will be back open for dine-in service Wednesday, Nov. 4.

The restaurant, located at 4150 S. Frontage Road, announced the reopening Monday on its Facebook page.

China Buffet closed its doors earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and a short time later reopened for carry-out service only.

As of next week, customers will be able to sit down and eat inside again and enjoy the buffet for the first time in months at the popular restaurant.

Customers can still call in their orders to pick up food (601-630-0331) until the dine-in service begins.

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COVID-19

Mississippi reports 675 new COVID-19 cases this weekend; 7-day average up 30% from last month

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The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the U.S., with a 23% increase over the past week and two record-setting days. In Mississippi, the seven-day average is 30% higher now than it was one month ago.

Almost no state is immune to the rise, with 37 states reporting growing numbers of new cases and the other 13 relatively flat, according to Johns Hopkins University data. No state reported statistically significant COVID-19 decreases last week.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported three new COVID-19 cases Sunday and Monday in Warren County and one new death identified from a death certificate report. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,551, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 675 new COVID-19 cases Monday for Sunday and Monday, with 228 reported Sunday and 447 Monday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 115,763. The seven-day average of new cases is 739, higher by 226 cases or about 30% higher than a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recesntly, 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 Monday that eight additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,263. 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 eight deaths MSDH reported Monday, four occurred between Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Monday
George 1
Leake 1
Marion 1
Tippah 1

Another four COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Aug. 29 and Oct. 6 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Grenada 1
Hinds 1
Jackson 1
Warren 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 25. 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.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, is 679, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 580 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 99 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 66 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 87.6% of the cumulative 115,763 cases reported as of Monday, Oct. 26.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Oct. 5, was 1,431, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,375, or about 88.7% of the 1,551 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Oct. 26. The county has an estimated 120 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 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 133 Monday. 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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