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UMMC and MSDH opening one-day testing site in Vicksburg Tuesday, March 31

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A drive-up testing site in Colorado. (Photo by The National Guard - Colorado National Guard, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88377882)

From the University of Mississippi Medical Center:

The University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi State Department of Health on Tuesday will open two mobile COVID-19 sample collection sites for one day only.

The appointment-only testing is free of charge. Mississippians who have been screened as being high risk of infection will give a specimen sample, via a nose swab, without exiting their vehicle.

Drive-through sites for Tuesday, March 31, both open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., are:

  • Pemberton Square Mall, 350 Pemberton Square Boulevard, Vicksburg
  • Greenwood-Leflore County Civic Center, 200 Mississippi Highway 7, Greenwood

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi National Guard are collaborating with UMMC and MSDH to facilitate the collections.

Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, who feel they should be tested must first go through a free screening from a UMMC clinician through the C Spire Health UMMC Virtual COVID-19 Triage telehealth smartphone app. Those without a smartphone can call (601) 496-7200. Using the C Spire Health app is the easiest, quickest process to be screened and receive an appointment.

More information about UMMC/MSDH mobile testing sites can be found here.

One-day collection sites will also be open:

  • Wednesday in Meridian (address to be determined)
  • Thursday in Natchez and Picayune (addresses to be determined)

Residents that live in and around those areas who believe they need to be screened can do so now by using the C Spire Health app, or for those that don’t have a smartphone, the phone number listed above. Those meeting high-risk criteria will be given an appointment at the mobile collection site closest to them.

Drive-through specimen collection using this same process also is continuing daily at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.

During the screening, a medical provider will determine the patient’s level of risk for having COVID-19 based on their symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. Anyone found to be high-risk for having coronavirus will receive an appointment to be tested at a collection site closest to them.

At the collection sites, providers wearing protective gear will come to the vehicle window to retrieve specimens for testing to be performed at the MSDH Public Health Lab. Those being tested aren’t permitted to leave their vehicle.

UMMC will notify those tested of the results and give further instructions.

Appointments for testing will only be given to people who are symptomatic for COVID-19 and are determined to need testing. Anyone not experiencing symptoms is asked not to use the app or call.

Anyone determined to be at low risk for infection won’t receive an appointment for collection of specimens, but instead will receive instructions on social distancing, home isolation and self-care – and told to call back if symptoms worsen.

For more information about UMMC’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Mississippi, click here.

For more information on COVID-19 in Mississippi, visit the MSDH website.

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Alcorn student leader works to advance other students in STEM fields

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Alexandria Williams (photo courtesy ASU)

Last year, Alcorn State University was granted its official charter for the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers Chapter. This year, the organization appointed its first student leader.

Alexandria Williams, a junior computer science major from Detroit, Michigan, was named the first Miss NOBCChE for the Alcorn chapter. The organization assists aspiring STEM students in gathering knowledge about the field and becoming STEM professionals.

Solidifying her leadership role in the chapter is significant for Williams because she feels the chapter can achieve excellence. She’s happy to play a critical role in the chapter’s legacy on campus.

“It’s an incredible honor to be crowned Alcorn’s first Miss NOBCChE,” Williams said. “Alcorn’s chapter is destined for greatness, so this is history in the making. To be a part of this history feels amazing.”

Sonia Eley, NOBCChE adviser and chemistry professor, is confident in Williams’ ability to represent the chapter.

“Alexandria possesses the qualities it takes to lead this chapter,” Eley said. “Her intelligence, rapport with her peers and love for STEM make her the ideal selection for the position. I have faith that she will be an excellent leader whose exceptional decision-making skills would move this chapter forward.”

In her decision making, Williams relies on faith to steer her into her purpose. She’s confident that accepting her leadership role is the right path for her.

“I try to align everything I do with God’s purpose in my life,” she said. “I joined NOBCChE last school year and served as the social media and graphic design chairman. Through my experience, I learned more about my field of study, gained community service hours and made new friends. I had such an amazing experience that when I was presented with the opportunity to represent the organization, I couldn’t resist accepting the position.”

The chapter showcases the talent of Alcorn’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors. Williams applauds NOBCChE for providing a platform for aspiring Black STEM professionals.

“I believe that Alcorn’s NOBCChE chapter is important because the world needs to recognize the power of talented Black STEM students,” she said. “We are capable of being great in this space, and we possess the ability to change the STEM profession’s landscape. NOBCChE is one of many platforms that showcases our talent and worth.”

Ever-changing technological advances inspired Williams to become a computer science major. Watching these advancements fuel her desire to be one of the future’s leading engineers.

“We witness technological advances often. The world is transitioning to a new technological age,” she said. “We have autonomous vehicles, face detection in the palm of our hands and scientists are equipped to reverse paralysis. During this change, the world is searching for people to develop new technologies and introduce them to the world. Those professionals are engineers, and for some time, I’ve been dreaming about becoming one.”

Encouraging younger students to pursue STEM programs and careers also excites Williams. Last summer in her hometown, she created Coder Gals, a four-week program that introduces girls in grades three through five to STEM and coding concepts. Williams prepares a curriculum for the students, hosts workshops, trains mentors and distributes newsletters to parents. The lack of women engineers was Williams’ motivation for starting the initiative.

“I started a chapter in my community because of the lack of female representation in STEM fields. We strive to spark young girls’ interest in coding through fun, creative, and collaborative projects and create the foundation for their future success. We instill in them that they can succeed in any male-dominated field that they choose.”

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USACE publishes mainline levees Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

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Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published its Final Supplement II to the 1976 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Mississippi River and Tributaries Project, Mississippi River Mainline Levees in the Federal Register.

Through evaluation of information and data obtained from levee inspections, seepage analyses, research, studies and engineering assessments, the USACE Memphis, Vicksburg and New Orleans districts collectively identified 143 additional work items along various reaches of the Mississippi River mainline levees  feature of the MR&T project. These work items are remedial measures to control seepage and/or raise and stabilize deficient sections of the existing levees and floodwalls to maintain the structural integrity and stability of the MRL system.

The 143 work items constitute the proposed action for this Final SEIS II and are located across portions of seven states: Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. This document is intended to supplement and, as necessary, augment the 1976 FEIS and 1998 Supplemental EIS to achieve USACE’s primary goals for the MR&T:

  • providing flood risk reduction from the Project Design Flood; and
  • being an environmentally sustainable project.

The Final SEIS II is available online at the USACE Vicksburg District website. The 30-day review period begins Friday, Nov. 13, and ends Monday, Dec. 14.

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Crime

VPD reports a string of burglaries from Tuesday through Thursday

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The Vicksburg Police Department reports that several burglaries occurred this week from Tuesday through Thursday.

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 5:58 a.m. officers responded to 1601 North Frontage Road in reference to a residential burglary. The victim advised he discovered the lock on his trailer was broken and multiple power tools valued at $5,000 were missing.

Tuesday at 11 p.m., officers responded to Parts Supply, 2406 South Frontage Road, in reference to an auto burglary. The victim stated he saw a white male wearing a camo jacket run from the cab of his truck carrying his lunch box while the driver was making a delivery to the store.

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, a victim came to the police department at 11:59 a.m. to report an auto burglary. The theft occurred on either Bridge Street or Evans Alley, sometime between Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. A Taurus 9-mm handgun was taken from the unlocked vehicle.

On Thursday, Nov. 12, at 8:41 a.m. a victim came to the police department to report an auto burglary. A black, white and lime green Scott bicycle was stolen off the back of the victim’s 2017 Nissan Altima. The bicycle is valued at around $3,000.

Also on Thursday, officers responded to Tri-State Tires, 2209 Washington St., at 10:19 a.m. for a business burglary. The complainant stated one of the U-Haul transports valued at $9,000 was stolen Tuesday, Nov. 10.

If you have information on any of these incidents, please call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

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