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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.

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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Mississippi adds 1,256 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday; 7-day average over 1,000

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Mississippi reported the third day of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, pushing the seven-day average over 1,000 cases per day.

Nationally, Tuesday set another record in new cases, reporting at least 139,855. That number brings the seven-day average to 123,315, nearly 70% higher than the average two weeks ago. While deaths haven’t skyrocketed the way cases have, at least 1,448 deaths were reported Tuesday nationwide, a rise of 23% in the seven-day average.

In Warren County, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,630, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,256 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 129,394. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,017, about 64% (370 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 older groups. 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 Wednesday that 17 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,497. 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 Wednesday, 15 occurred between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Alcorn 6
Hinds 1
Itawamba 1
Lamar 1
Panola 1
Pontotoc 2
Sharkey 1
Tallahatchie 1
Tate 1

Two COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Harrison 1
Simpson 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10. 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 seven days have 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 86.1% of the cumulative 129,394 cases reported as of Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Oct. 21, was 1,532, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,476, or about 90.6% of the 1,630 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Nov. 11. 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 14.7% Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 8.3%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 123 Wednesday. About 38.8%, or 1,358, 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.

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Reeves extends COVID-19 executive order through Dec. 11

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Gov. Tate Reeves in July 2020. (VDN file photo)

Gov. Tate Reeves announced Wednesday that he has extended his “Safe Recovery” executive order through Friday, Dec. 11. It had been set to expire today.

The governor also reset his county-specific orders, using the applicable data. The counties that now qualify for additional measures including mask requirements are Benton, Carroll, Covington, DeSoto, Forrest, Harrison, Humphreys, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Lee, Marshall, Rankin and Yalobusha.

“I know that we are all tired and ready to move on. But the virus is still here,” Reeves said in a statement. “It’s still working to infect and kill. We’ve gotten far better at dealing with it and allowing for life to go on. But we’re not all the way there, yet. Keep fighting and protecting the most vulnerable in your life. No matter where you are, please do your best to social distance and wear a mask.”

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