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Mississippi reports 1,271 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

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Mississippi reported a second consecutive day of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. With increased cases come increased hospitalizations. State health officials warned Wednesday that that unless changes were made immediately, Mississippi could see a critical shortage of first line care for seriously ill and injured patients.

Nationally, the pandemic continues to break records for cases and hospitalizations. More than 142,000 new cases were reported Wednesday, and 65,368 Americans were hospitalized. Hospitalizations have more than doubled in just over a month. The seven-day average for new cases is nearly 70% higher than the average two weeks ago. At least 1,431 deaths were reported Wednesday nationwide, an increase of 36% in two weeks.

In Warren County, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported four new COVID-19 cases Thursday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,634, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,271 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 130,665. The seven-day average of new cases is 968.3, 321 cases higher than a month ago and on par with numbers in late July and early August.

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 Thursday that 17 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,514. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.7%.

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 17 deaths MSDH reported Thursday, 16 occurred between Nov. 5 and Nov. 11 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Alcorn 1
Benton 1
Hancock 1
Harrison 2
Hinds 1
Itawamba 1
Jasper 1
Lafayette 2
Marshall 1
Oktibbeha 1
Tate 2
Tippah 1
Yalobusha 1

One additional COVID-19 related death occurred Nov. 5 in Madison County and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11. 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, the past week has seen a steady rise in hospitalizations once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, was 756, well over half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 669 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 87 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 191 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 78 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 111,430 through Sunday, Nov. 8. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 85.3% of the cumulative 130,665 cases reported as of Thursday, Nov. 12.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Oct. 22, was 1,536, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,480, or about 90.6% of the 1,634 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Nov. 12. The county has an estimated 98 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. 7 (the latest statewide testing results reported by MSDH), is 1,105,638 or about 37.2% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. 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 16.3% Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 8.7%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 126 Thursday. About 38.8%, or 1,365, 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 by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 25.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

COVID-19

VHS basketball team cancels four games due to COVID-19 concerns

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The Vicksburg High School boys basketball team will not be allowed to play again until Dec. 1 due to positive COVID-19 cases at the school. It is not clear at this time if the positive cases reported involve any of the boys basketball players.

(photo by Cedric Tillman)

The boys basketball team is canceling four games until December when they will travel to play against Northwest Rankin.

The VHS varsity cheerleading team is also suspending their activities and will return to action in December.

The Gators were coming off a 68-58 win over Holmes County Central last Thursday before COVID-19 interrupted their season.

The VHS girls basketball team has not canceled any games. They are still set to play Raymond High School Nov. 24. Likewise, the football team will still travel to Grenada Friday for their playoff game.

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COVID-19

Porter’s Chapel Academy closes temporarily to sanitize

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Porter’s Chapel Academy in Vicksburg has shut down temporarily due to a student testing positive for COVID-19.

Head of School Chris Williams said Wednesday that the school closed its doors temporarily out of an abundance of caution. The school is using the time to complete a deep cleaning and sanitizing.

Doors reopen Monday morning.

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COVID-19

Health officials warn COVID-19 hospitalizations are approaching crisis levels

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The Mississippi State Department of Health is warning that COVID-19 hospitalizations are again approaching crisis levels.

In a tweet Wednesday, the agency said that unless changes were made immediately, Mississippi could see a critical shortage of first line care for seriously ill and injured patients.

Although still below last summer’s peak of about 1,200 people hospitalized for the virus, Tuesday’s total of 756 hospitalizations was more than 60% of the late July peak of about 1,200, and hospitalizations are continuing to rise.

Rises in hospitalizations generally come a week or two after rises in case counts. Mississippi’s new COVID-19 case counts began rising in October, and it wasn’t long before hospitalizations followed.

Mississippi’s trend in rising hospitalizations is mirrored across the nation, with many areas struggling to keep up. Wisconsin opened a field hospital on the state fair grounds. Hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri, turned away ambulances. More than 4,700 are hospitalized in Illinois and nearly 6,200 in Texas. All told, nearly 62,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. as of Nov. 10, almost 3,000 more than the peak of last summer’s surge and an increase of about 40% in two weeks, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

“Treatments for COVID-19 have improved since the Northeast outbreak,” the project wrote recently on its blog. “The ratio of hospitalizations to deaths has fallen tremendously since the spring. But it is also true that wherever we see hospitalizations go up, deaths rise two to three weeks later. We’ve seen it happen in state after state, in region after region, and nationally as well.

“Improved outcomes depend on maintaining the highest standard of care. With hospitalization numbers like these, it is not clear that health care systems in all hard-hit areas will be able to maintain this standard.”

To date, the rises in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is outpacing a rise in deaths. In Mississippi, the percentage of cases to deaths is hovering at just over 2.7%, down from over 3% last month. The rate of deaths is increasing nationwide, however, up more than 20% in the past two weeks.

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