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Hurricane Sally shifts east once again

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(Satellite image source: NOAA)

Hurricane Sally, still a Category 1 storm, is continuing its slow 2-mph progression toward the Gulf Coast; however, the projected track of the storm has shifted to the east once again.

At 4 p.m., Sally’s center was about 85 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

(Image source: NOAA)

The Gulf Coast east of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to Navarre, Florida, remains under a hurricane watch. West of Bay St. Louis to Grand Isle, Louisiana, is under a tropical storm watch. The tropical storm warning for Metro New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana has been discontinued.

Landfall is still predicted for late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The worst effects of the storm are expected in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, but that doesn’t eliminate storm surge of 2 to 5 feet and “historic life-threatening” flash flooding on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

COVID-19

Mississippi Rental Assistance grant applications being accepted

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(Photo by Photo Mix from Pixabay)

Applications for the Mississippi Rental Assistance Grant Program are being accepted by the Mississippi Development Authority as of Thursday.

The program is designed for landlords with tenants who have fallen behind on rent due to COVID-19. The program will cover rent going back to March for tenants who have been unable to pay because they lost their job or have reduced income due to COVID-19.

Landlords are eligible for up to $30,000 and must credit grant funds to their tenants’ past due rents. Renters cannot apply directly for this program and should contact their landlords about applying on their behalf. Both small and large landlords can apply for the program.

Landlords should visit www.mississippi.org/mrap to learn more about the program and apply. The application deadline is Nov. 15.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise with increased cases

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Mississippi is seeing a steady rise in hospitalizations for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19. The rise is consistent with the rise in new cases. The Magnolia State is among numerous other U.S. states that are seeing a rise in cases. Daily new cases in the U.S. are now averaging more than 60,000, a 32% increase in the past two weeks. Major new outbreaks have been reported in the rural Midwest and Rocky Mountain states.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported four new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,536, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 958 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 113,081. The seven-day average of new cases is 706, higher by 206 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 3,231. 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.

The eights deaths MSDH reported Thursday occurred between Oct. 18 and Oct. 21 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Benton 1
Chickasaw 1
Covington 1
Desoto 1
Jackson 1
Lafayette 1
Lincoln 1
Marshall 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21. 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. Tuesday, Oct. 20, is 711, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 605 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 106 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 151 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 73 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 86.4% of the cumulative 113,081 cases reported Thursday, Oct. 22.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Oct. 1, was 1,423, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,368, or about 89% of the 1,536 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 22. The county has an estimated 113 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. 10, 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 17.6% Wednesday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.6%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 126 Tuesday. About 40.2%, or 1,298, 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 accepts award for Best Water Treatment Plant in Mississippi

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water treatment plant award
Eddie Busby of ESG Operations, Hunter Arnold of the American Water Association, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, Director of Public Works Garnet Van Norman, North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs (photo by Thomas Parker).

Vicksburg officials were on hand Thursday morning to accept an award for the Best Water Treatment Plant of the year.

The ceremony was held at the Vicksburg Water Plant, 601 Haining Road, at 10 a.m. Thursday.

water treatment plant award

(photo by Thomas Parker)

Hunter Arnold of the American Water Association and Eddie Busby of ESG Operations presented the award to Vicksburg’s Director of Public Works Garnet Van Norman, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., and aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour.

This is the city’s second consecutive year to win this award for Mississippi, which cites overall water quality, plant improvements, energy efficiency and regulatory conformance as criteria for the selection.

 

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