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Sheriff releases names of those injured in Warriors Trail crash Wednesday

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the two people involved in a crash Wednesday evening on Warriors Trail.

The driver of the vehicle, Tonny Wash, 35, and the passenger, Jamie Dewan Williams, 37, were both injured and transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson where they are doing well.

Sheriff Martin Pace indicated Friday that speed was a factor in the crash.

The vehicle Wash and Williams were driving, a Nissan, crashed into a tree around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and erupted into flames. After they extinguished the fire, it took about an hour for first responders to free the two men from the vehicle.

Wash was taken by ambulance to a helicopter at Clear Creek Golf Course, which then took him to UMMC. Williams was taken to UMMC by ambulance.

Pace took an English bulldog that was also in the vehicle to Animal Medical Clinic for treatment.

Vicksburg and Warren County firefighters along with multiple Warren County sheriff’s personnel worked in tandem to extinguish the flames and rescue the passengers from the wreckage.

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Hurricane Zeta left behind more than 32,000 damaged homes in Mississippi

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Hurricane Zeta may not have been the most powerful storm to hit the Gulf Coast in 2020, but it left plenty of wreckage in its wake.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is continuing to work with local county EMA directors to assess the damage. As of Thursday, Nov. 6, counties are reporting 32,071 homes in 10 counties have been damaged or affected by Hurricane Zeta along with businesses, farms, roads and public buildings.

MEMA is encouraging residents NOT TO BURN DEBRIS, but instead, sort it according to Federal Emergency Management Agency standards. (See below. Debris counting and weighing are critical in applying for federal assistance.) Currently, MEMA is working on damage assessments, and FEMA has been requested to conduct joint damage assessments of the impacted areas.

The following damage reports are preliminary. MEMA is working to validate these numbers. Throughout the validation process, numbers can increase or decrease based on MEMA assessments:

Jackson:

  • Total Homes Affected: 2,535
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 20
  • Total Public Roads/Buildings Affected: 69

Harrison

  • Total Homes Affected: 26,838
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 212
  • Total Public Roads/Buildings Affected: 928

Hancock

  • Total Homes Affected: 993
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 35

Forrest

  • Total Homes Affected: 22
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 1

George

  • Total Homes Affected: 990
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 20
  • Total Public Roads/Buildings Affected: 6

Greene

  • Total Homes Affected: 408
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 4

Pearl River:

  • Total Homes Affected: 30

Perry

  • Total Homes Affected: 44
  • Total Public Roads/Buildings Affected: 6

Stone

  • Total Homes Affected: 161
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 4
  • Total Public Roads/Buildings Affected: 2

Wayne

  • Total Homes Affected: 50
  • Total Businesses/Farms Affected: 2
  • Total Public Roads/Buildings Affected: 2

Before home repairs and reconstruction begins, permits must be obtained for communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The local floodplain administrator must assess the damage of the property inside the special flood hazard area. After the assessment has been completed, the permit official will notify the property owner of the results and what requirements they will need to meet during repairs.

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COVID-19

Warren County spared so far from huge COVID-19 increases seen elsewhere

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During the current surge in new COVID-19 cases nationwide, Warren County has so far been spared from the huge increases seen elsewhere in the state and around the country. The county’s 14-day average remains at a low 5.3 cases, and the last death was reported on Oct. 26, 11 days ago.

Nationwide, the U.S. reported a record of at least 121,000 new cases Thursday and 1,108 new deaths. On a 14-day average, the nation’s cases have increased by 54% and deaths by 8%.

In Warren County, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported six new COVID-19 cases Friday, and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,606, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 967 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 124,854. The seven-day average of new cases is 788.3, about 211 cases higher than 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 Friday that 14 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,419. 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 14 deaths MSDH reported Friday, eight occurred between Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Friday
Itawamba 1
Lee 1
Lincoln 1
Prentiss 1
Sunflower 1
Tate 1
Tippah 1
Washington 1

Six COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Oct. 13 and Oct. 30 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Forrest 1
Hancock 1
Jackson 1
Lauderdale 1
Leake 1
Neshoba 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5. 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.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, was 640, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 537 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 103 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 154 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 76 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 105,839 through Sunday, Nov. 1. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 84.8% of the cumulative 124,854 cases reported as of Friday, Nov. 6.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Friday, Oct. 16, was 1,511, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,455, or about 90.6% of the 1,606 cumulative cases reported as of Friday, Nov. 6. The county has an estimated 95 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, Oct. 31 (the latest statewide testing results reported by MSDH), is 1,049,479 or about 35.3% 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 13.9% Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 7.2%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 113 Friday. About 39.4%, or 1,346, 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 here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 25.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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‘Not while I’m governor!’ Reeves vows to block Mississippi early, mail-in voting

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves at a press conference in January. (photo via video screen grab)

Gov. Tate Reeves on Thursday, as the nation awaited the counting of absentee votes in several states to decide the presidential election, vowed to never allow universal mail-in voting or early voting in Mississippi under his watch.

“… based on what I see in other states today, I will also do everything in my power to make sure universal mail-in voting and no-excuse early voting are not allowed in MS—not while I’m governor!” the Republican governor tweeted on Thursday. “Too much chaos. Only way it’d happen is if many GOP legislators override a veto!”

Reeves also vowed to “do everything in my power to ensure every ballot legally cast in the 2020 election in Mississippi gets counted” as several counties’ totals had not come in as of Thursday. One race, for state Supreme Court, had not been called. This lag was largely due to an unprecedented large absentee vote, despite Mississippi’s strict absentee voting rules.

Several Republican-controlled states such as Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee allow early or universal mail-in voting.

Reeves’ office did not immediately respond to a request for further explanation of his veto vows on Thursday.

READ MORE: “Practices aimed to suppress the vote”: Mississippi is the only state without early voting for all during pandemic.

President Donald Trump continues to claim Democrats are trying to steal the election from him through absentee and mail-in voter fraud, and his campaign has filed multiple lawsuits even as votes are being counted. Election officials and experts insist there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and the process is working as it should. Mississippi GOP leaders have also cited voter fraud in support of restrictive voting regulations without evidence of any widespread voter fraud in the state.

One reason for the presidential vote delay is because several states that are still counting ballots as of Thursday afternoon are controlled by Republican elected officials, who passed policy that ensured absentee ballots could not begin to be counted until Election Day. Mississippi does not allow absentees to be counted until after the polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Mississippi has a dark history of Jim Crow voter suppression after Black citizens were given the right to vote. The state’s laws remain some of the most restrictive in the nation. Reform of Mississippi voting laws or allowing easier access in recent years has often been a partisan battle, with Republicans reluctant to ease restrictions.

Mississippi was the only state not to provide all citizens an option to vote early rather than going to crowded polls on Tuesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As every other state expanded some version of early voting for the pandemic, Mississippi’s Republican leaders let several bills to address the issue die.

READ MORE: Legislative leaders, once again, say they will not expand early voting during pandemic.

“Even today, in 2020, we continue to fight against old and outdated policies and practices aimed to suppress the vote,” said Corey Wiggins, executive director of the Mississippi NAACP.

State Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, a longtime advocate of reform of Mississippi’s restrictive voting regulations, said he believes Reeves’ vow is anathema to what the state’s voters want.

“More than 40 states in this country have early voting,” Blount said. “Early voting is completely secure. You walk in past a deputy sheriff into the courthouse, show your photo ID … it’s completely secure. I believe most Mississippians want it, regardless of party, regardless of who you voted for for president. People want choices, want options. If we are going to run government like a business — you would never say, ‘Come buy my product, but you’re going to have to wait in line three or four hours before I sell it to you.’ We should treat the customers, or citizens, to an efficient, safe process that meets their needs and their schedules. That’s why an overwhelming number of states, both red and blue, allow early voting.”

In Mississippi, only people who are over 65 years old, those who are going to be away from their home area on Election Day and people with disabilities are allowed to vote early either in person or by mail. To mail in an absentee ballot, a voter must have both the ballot application and the ballot notarized.

Blount said: “Mississippi has the most restrictive mail-in process in the country. Even if you don’t change eligibility for mail in, it needs to be more user friendly. Forcing people to get two different documents notarized — no other state in the country has that. Mississippi has a long history of making it hard to vote, and I believe Mississippians in both parties want to see progress.”


This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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