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SATURDAY…PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING. BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 70S. SOUTH WINDS AROUND 5 MPH INCREASING TO 10 TO 15 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON. .SATURDAY NIGHT…PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT. PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S. SOUTH WINDS AROUND 5 MPH. .SUNDAY…PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING. PARTLY CLOUDY IN THE MORNING…THEN BECOMING MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 70S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. .SUNDAY NIGHT…SLIGHT CHANCE OF SPRINKLES AFTER MIDNIGHT. BECOMING MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE UPPER 50S. SOUTH WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH. .WASHINGTONS BIRTHDAY…A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 70S. .MONDAY NIGHT…A 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. COOLER. LOWS IN THE MID 40S. .TUESDAY…SUNNY…COOLER. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 60S. .TUESDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE UPPER 30S. .WEDNESDAY…SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 60S. ]]]]> ]]>

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COVID-19

Speculation growing over whether Reeves will reinstate a mask mandate

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(Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash)

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mississippi, speculation about whether Gov. Tate Reeves will reinstate a mask mandate has also grown.

Monday, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson tweeted that the state should reconsider implementing a mandate once again.

After a surge in July and August put the state’s hospitals in danger of being overwhelmed, the governor allowed the statewide mandate to expire Sept. 30 after cases in Mississippi fell throughout most of September. The Magnolia State was the only state to drop its mandate. Cases in Mississippi leveled off toward the end of the month.

Cases began rising again in October. Last week’s seven-day averages reached a high of nearly 800 cases with two days, Thursday and Friday, reporting more than 1,000 cases each. During the same time frame in September, seven-day averages were generally under 500.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said last week that he expects the governor to announce measures to curb COVID-19 cases, possibly mandating masks on a county-by-county basis instead of statewide. He admitted, though, that he did not know Reeves’ plan of action.

Thursday in a social media post, Reeves said he wanted to be “cautious and limited in using executive action.”

Dobbs has expressed increasing concern over the number of rising cases.

“I do think we are on the front end of something that could be bad,” he said in a Zoom meeting Oct. 12 before the week’s worst numbers came in.

“The last time we saw that was before the summer surge. That doesn’t mean we can’t turn that around. It’s not that hard,” he added.

The governor will hold a live news conference Monday at 2:30 p.m.

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Flaggs looking to extend Vicksburg’s mask mandate again

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Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Left to right, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield. (File photo via VTV screen grab)

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is looking to extend the mask mandate in Vicksburg beyond the current Nov. 2 expiration date.

“We had a spike of 30 cases on Oct. 16,” Flaggs said at Monday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. “We need to keep going for at least another month.”

The city’s current civil emergency order related to COVID-19 expires Monday, Nov. 2, and will most likely be extended by the mayor and alderman before then.

Flaggs said Vicksburg is doing what it needs to be doing to keep the COVID-19 numbers low. He also mentioned that there are zero active COVID-19 cases among city employees at this time.

The mayor has also gained support from local judges on his stance against crimes committed with firearms. Last week he sent a letter to all the judges asking them to place ankle monitors on individuals who commit firearm-related crimes and give them a 7 p.m. curfew as a condition of their bonds. The judges agreed to the tougher bond criteria, effective immediately.

“I believe we should stop having curfew for the good guys and start putting the bad guys on curfew,” Flaggs said.

The board also honored Sgt. Bobby Jones, who has been with the Vicksburg Police Department for 20 years.

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COVID-19

No new COVID-19 deaths reported Monday in Mississippi

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The Mississippi State Department of Health did not provide any COVID-19 updates Sunday, and did not provide a reason. The agency reported combined statistics for Sunday’s and Monday’s new cases and deaths Monday. As expected, case counts dropped over the weekend with fewer labs reporting results. No new deaths in the state were reported for either day.

MSDH reported three new COVID-19 cases Sunday and Monday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,521, and the county’s death toll is 54.

Statewide, MSDH reported 586 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 110,592. The seven-day average of new cases is 766, higher by 271 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 Monday that no additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide Sunday. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,171. 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.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, and Sunday, Oct. 18. 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 showing a rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, is 609, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 501 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 108 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 140 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 85.2% of the cumulative 110,592 cases reported Monday, Oct. 19.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Monday, Sept. 28, was 1,409, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,355, or about 89.1% of the 1,521 cumulative cases reported as of Monday, Oct. 19. The county has an estimated 112 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. 15, 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 16.9% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.3%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 127 Monday. About 40.4%, or 1,280, 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 Oct. 4.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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