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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.

COVID-19

Warren County saw its first COVID-19 death in November as cases across the nation continue to surge

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Sunday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the first COVID-19 death in Warren County this month. The death was identified on a death certificate report and could have occurred any time between July 29 and Nov. 14.

Nationally, the seven-day average of new reported cases remains dangerously high at more than 171,000 daily. Hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing, with nearly 84,000 people hospitalized and 844 deaths reported Sunday. The seven-day average for new deaths is more than 1,500 daily.

In Warren County, MSDH reported 10 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and one new death, and another four cases Monday. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,721, and the county’s death toll is 57.

Statewide, MSDH reported 779 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 699 cases Monday bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 143,879. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,283 per day, about 623 cases and more than double the seven-day average a month ago. The average is on par with numbers seen in July.

At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In September, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi were 18 to 24 years old. That has shifted to a slightly older group. In November, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.

MSDH reported Sunday that 19 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. No new deaths were reported Monday. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,676. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.6%. This rate has dropped slightly as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.

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 in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 19 deaths MSDH reported Sunday, four occurred between Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Sunday
Desoto 1
Lamar 1
Neshoba 1
Tate 1

An additional 15 COVID-19 related deaths reported Sunday occurred between July 29 and Nov. 14 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Coahoma 2
Desoto 1
Franklin 1
Lee 2
Marshall 4
Neshoba 1
Oktibbeha 1
Prentiss 1
Warren 1
Yazoo 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 22. 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 tripled by late July.

Hospitalizations then steadily dropped through Oct. 3 when they began rising again along with increased cases. The last week in October, hospitalizations began levelling off; however, since Nov. 4 hospitals have seen a steady rise in COVID-19 patients once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, was 1,017, about 85% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 897 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 223 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 106 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 121,637 through Sunday, Nov. 22. It represents about 84.5% of the cumulative 143,879 cases reported as of Monday, Nov. 23.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Nov. 2, was 1,583, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,526, or about 88.7% of the 1,721 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Nov. 23. The county has an estimated 139 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, Nov. 21, is 1,237,802 or about 41.6% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the rate was 21.1% Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 9.8%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 172 Monday, an decrease of one since Saturday. About 38.1%, or 1,402, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 7,397, about 5.1% of the state’s total cases.

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 by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 8.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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COVID-19

Third COVID-19 vaccine proving 90% effective

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(Photo by by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay)

A third COVID-19 vaccine has proven effective in late-stage testing.

AstraZeneca, headquartered in the United Kingdom, announced Monday that its vaccine has shown to be 90% effective. Trials were conducted in the U.K. and in Brazil with about 23,000 subjects.

The vaccine will also be cheaper and easier to distribute that those from Pfizer and Moderna. AstraZeneca says its vaccine does not have to be stored in ultra-cold conditions, a big benefit in rural areas and developing countries around the globe.

The company has also committed to not making a profit on the vaccine, bringing its per-dose price to about $2.50. Pfizer’s vaccine will cost about $20 and Moderna’s between $15 and $25.

Additional trials are underway around the globe including in the U.S.

Pending approval, AstraZeneca expects to be able to begin distribution in January 2021.

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COVID-19

Mississippi sets new one-day COVID-19 case record Saturday with 1,972 reported

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Mississippi zoomed past the previous one-day record of new COVID-19 cases Saturday, with the Mississippi State Department of Health reporting 1,972. The previous record of 1,775 new cases was reported July 30.

Three weeks into November, the number of new cases reported is more than all the cases reported in October.

The state’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb toward the numbers seen in this summer’s surge. Saturday, the average neared 1,300 per day. A steep rise in hospitalizations is accompanying the rise in new cases, threatening once again to overwhelm the state’s health care system.

Across the U.S., the surge is gathering speed. Friday, at least 198,500 new cases were reported, another record, and the seven-day average of new cases is quickly approaching 200,000 per day. Cases are rising in 47 states. Hospitalizations are soaring as well, with more than 82,000 patients.

Friday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced it has submitted its application for emergency use of its vaccine to the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Approval is expected to take about three weeks. If approved, the vaccine could be available to high-risk groups such as health-care workers and the elderly before the end of the year.

In Warren County, MSDH reported 16 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,707, and the county’s death toll is 56. Although the county has been spared the huge increases seen elsewhere, the 14-day average has risen from about five cases per day to nearly 7 cases in the past few weeks. No deaths have been reported in the county in November.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,972 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, the highest one-day increase since the crisis began, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 142,401. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,294 per day, about 536 cases and nearly 60% higher than the seven-day average a month ago. The average is on par with numbers seen in July.

At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In September, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi were 18 to 24 years old. That has shifted to a slightly older group. In November, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are from 25 to 39 years old followed by those 50 to 64 years old.

MSDH reported Saturday that 15 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,657. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.6%. This rate has dropped slightly as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.

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 in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.

The deaths MSDH reported Saturday occurred between Nov. 13 and Nov. 20 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Saturday
Holmes 1
Jackson 3
Jefferson Davis 1
Lafayette 1
Lee 1
Madison 1
Pearl River 1
Perry 1
Rankin 1
Tate 1
Walthall 1
Yazoo 1

Another six COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Oct. 31 and Nov. 13 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
DeSoto 2
Harrison 1
Marshall 2
Sharkey 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 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 tripled by late July.

Hospitalizations then steadily dropped through Oct. 3 when they began rising again along with increased cases. The last week in October, hospitalizations were levelling off; however, since Nov. 4 hospitals have seen a steady rise in COVID-19 patients once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, was 965, about 80% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 863 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 102 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 225 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 99 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 116,683 through Sunday, Nov. 15. It represents about 81.9% of the cumulative 142,401 cases reported as of Saturday, Nov. 21.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Saturday, Oct. 31, was 1,576, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,520, or about 89% of the 1,707 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Nov. 21. The county has an estimated 131 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, Nov. 14, is 1,165,593 or about 39.2% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the rate was 19.7% Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 10%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 173 Saturday, an increase of three since Friday. About 38.3%, or 1,400, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 7,384, about 5.2% of the state’s total cases.

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 by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 6.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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