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Laura weakened to still dangerous Category 2 hurricane

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Source: NOAA NHC

Hurricane Laura weakened to a Category 2 storm as it pushed inland in Louisiana Thursday, with 75 mph winds.

Laura is expected to become a tropical storm within the next few hours and weaken to a tropical depression Thursday night as it continues northward into Arkansas.

Laura hit the Louisiana coast around 1 a.m. Thursday as a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph, tying the previous record set in the state in 1851, NBC reports. A storm called “Last Island” hit Louisiana that year with 150 mph winds.

The storm is the seventh named hurricane of the season to hit the continental U.S. before the end of August, breaking the previous record of six, first set in 1886 and tied in 1916.

As Laura pushes north just east of the Texas border, it is pushing seawater as far as 40 miles inland and sending strong bands of wind and rain eastward into Mississippi.

Warren County and other western counties on the Mississippi River are seeing heavy rain and strong wind. Expect widespread flash flooding along streams and roadways.

Through Friday, Laura is expected to produce additional rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, with isolated storm totals of 18 inches over Louisiana.

Tornadoes are possible through Thursday night over parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and western Mississippi. The risk for tornadoes will shift into the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley regions Friday into Friday night.

COVID-19

Six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Warren County; 713 statewide

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New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Mississippi as they have been doing for more than 10 days.

“I do think we are on the front end of something that could be bad,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs in a Zoom meeting Monday. “The last time we saw that was before the summer surge,” Dobbs added. “That doesn’t mean we can’t turn that around. It’s not that hard. We just have to have a little bit of patience.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,476, and the county’s death toll is 53.

Statewide, MSDH reported 713 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 105,941. The seven-day average of new cases is 609, higher by 183 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 Tuesday that 14 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,115. 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.

MSDH reported Tuesday that 13 deaths occurred in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Tuesday
Amite 2
Hancock 1
Harrison 1
Lee 1
Lowndes 1
Marshall 1
Monroe 1
Rankin 1
Tishomingo 1
Washington 3

One COVID-19 related death occurred Sept. 25 in Adams County and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12. 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 continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been showing a definite rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, is 600, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 507 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 93 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 145 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 69 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 94,165 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 89% of the cumulative 105,941 cases reported Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Tuesday, Sept. 22, was 1,382, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,329, or about 90% of the 1,476 cumulative cases reported as of Tuesday, Oct. 11. The county has an estimated 87 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 Sunday, Oct. 3, is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 128 Tuesday. About 40.6%, or 1,265, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 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 Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Monday’s I-20 crash in Louisiana claims the life of a Texas man

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On Monday, Oct. 12, shortly after 8 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a crash on Interstate 20 near milepost 182 in Madison Parish. The crash claimed the life of a man from Fort Worth, Texas.

The initial investigation revealed a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by 41-year-old Nathan Ribelin of Fort Worth, Texas, was traveling eastbound on Interstate 20. For reasons still under investigation, the Silverado rear-ended a 1999 International 18-wheeler that was stopped for traffic. After impact, the International 18-wheeler struck the rear of a 2008 Ford F-350 that was also stopped. Ribelin, who was properly restrained, was transported to a hospital where he later died because of his injuries.

A toxicology sample was obtained and submitted for analysis. The crash, which shut down the eastbound lanes of the interstate for several hours, remains under investigation.

To date in 2020, Troop F has investigated 38 fatal crashes resulting in 40 deaths.

 

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Announcements

Governor announces two MS Board of Ed appointments

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Gov. Tate Reeves announced two Mississippi State Board of Education appointments Tuesday: Angela Bass from Jackson and Glen East from Gulfport. The appointees reflect the Governor’s commitment to continuous improvement in education.

“Mississippi’s children deserve our steadfast commitment to improving education. We must continue to improve outcomes for these students without fear of upsetting the status quo. I am confident that Angela and Glen will serve with honor and represent the interest of parents, teachers and — most importantly — students. Their achievement has to be our top priority,” Reeves said in a statement.

Dr. Angela Bass served as a Teach for America corps member and studied education policy and management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, later becoming a teacher in both the Tunica and Desoto County school districts and an administrator at the KIPP Memphis Collegiate High School. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Early Learning Alliance.

Mr. Glen East serves as the Superintendent of the Gulfport School District. The district represents 10 schools and approximately 5,800 students. It has been designated an Excellence for All School District.

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