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COVID-19

Vicksburg and Warren County adopt COVID-19 policies and procedures

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Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. at March 16 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. (Photo by Thomas Parker)

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted policies and procedures in line with recommendations made by the State of Mississippi Department of Health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their Monday meeting.

“We are about to embark upon something I don’t think none of us—I don’t care how old you are—have ever experienced in the United States is in relates to the coronavirus,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

Mayor Flaggs said that this issue is a moving target and is changing day-by-day and hour-by-hour.

“This is a serious, serious matter and I would ask that we use all the precaution as we can to try and minimize this,” Flaggs said.

The CDC recommends individuals 65 years of age or older not be in a crowd that exceeds 50 people. CDC also recommends all people practice safe social distances and proper hygiene. Mayor Flaggs advised not to go to a doctor’s office or emergency room if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, call your medical provider for further evaluation and testing.

The City of Vicksburg adopted COVID-19 policies and procedures until March 29:

  • The City of Vicksburg employees will operate under emergency housing conditions and inclement weather policy. Employees will be asked to take vacation time or sick leave pending a proposed lost wages bill.

“There is a bill that left the (U.S.) House and it’s on its way to the Senate that may or may not pass that (is) looking to reimburse any employees for any lost wages,” Flaggs said.

  • All police personnel should take proper precautions such as wearing protective clothing when in physical contact with the public.

“I’ve spoken to Chief  [Milton] Moore and everybody is in sync on how we plan to govern ourselves,” Flaggs said, “and I’ve also talked to Chief [Craig] Danzyck for the protocol as it relates to the first responders and our medical unit. I’ve also been in contact with Merit Health on how we are going to handle this. We are in contact with the CDC and the State Department of Health.

  • Every city employee restroom will be checked for sufficient amounts of soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels every hour during the workday for the next 30 days.
  • The City Senior Center will remain closed for the next two weeks and will undergo further evaluation to open or remain closed.
  • The City of Vicksburg is suspending water and gas customer disconnects for the next 60 days.

“We had 14 days, but the Public Service has adopted 60 days and (City Attorney Nancy Thomas) has verified,” Flaggs said. “That means no cut off of gas or water supply for the next 60 days. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay and pay on time. That doesn’t exclude any late fees or anything”

  • The City has suspended all employee travel funding for any distance more than 100 miles outside Vicksburg unless deemed necessary by the mayor.
  • City employees or persons in their household who have traveled over 100 miles outside Vicksburg over the course of the next 30 days or believe you came in contact with the virus while away report back to their immediate supervisor their travel.
  • The city employee that travels outside the United States will stay home for 14 days before returning to work over the course of the next 30 days. This travel policy will be re-evaluated at a later date.

“We only know of one city employee that traveled outside the U.S. that is back and is working from home,” Flaggs said.

  • The City of Vicksburg recreational facilities will be closed for the next 14 days which includes Jackson Street Community Center, the YMCA and all city parks. This will be reevaluated on March 29. As of now, this does not include Sports Force Park
  • There will be no City of Vicksburg public meetings for more than 50 people for the next 14 days.
  • Public court cases will be postponed for the next 14 days unless deemed as an emergency.

“I’ve talked with Judge [Angela] Carpenter, and any ticket that is written will have to be cited to come back after the 14 days,” Flaggs said.

  • The City of Vicksburg recommends no inside funeral services exceeding 50 people should be held for the next 14 days and is recommending only a graveside service.

“I am meeting with all funeral home directors at 12 o’clock,” Flaggs said. “I’m asking, I cannot mandate for them to not have funeral services that exceed more than 50. I don’t know how it works. I hope we can delay a funeral for 14 days.”

  • The City of Vicksburg will have a relaxed dress code for the next 14 days to provide comfort for the employees.
  • City employees should consult The State of Mississippi Coronavirus information sources healthyms.com

“The City of Vicksburg will adopt these standards for the betterment not only for the employees for the City of Vicksburg but for their family too,” Flaggs said.

During the meeting, Flaggs also recommended the adoption of a joint state of emergency declaration between the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Warren County Board of Supervisors. The declaration was signed immediately after the board meeting on Monday.

Warren County is also adopting the policies and procedures outlined above.

“Declaring a state of emergency allows us to access mutual-aid resources from the state and federal government, bypass bid laws, and spend whatever money is necessary to respond to the needs of our residents until this outbreak has been contained,” Flaggs said. “Vicksburg and Warren County are united in our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to act with our residents’ best interests in mind.”

COVID-19

Mississippi reports 1,212 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as U.S. sets new one-day high

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Mississippi’s cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 115,000 Saturday, with another day of more than 1,000 cases reported.

On Friday, the U.S. reported 83,757 new cases, a new one-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University. At the peak of the summer surge, the U.S. reported 77,362 new cases of COVID-19 on July 16, reports USA Today. Nearly every state in the union is reporting increased cases, and experts predict that this surge could be more deadly and last longer than the summer surge because the virus circulates easier in colder weather.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Saturday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,548, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,212 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 115,088. The seven-day average of new cases is 726, higher by 244 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 Saturday that 17 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,255. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

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 Saturday, 13 occurred between Oct. 19 and Oct. 23 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Saturday
Adams 1
Benton 1
Coahoma 1
Covington 1
Harrison 1
Leake 1
Lee 1
Monroe 1
Panola 1
Pontotoc 1
Tallahatchie 1
Wayne 1
Yazoo 1

Four COVID-19 related deaths reported Saturday occurred between Sept. 22 and Oct. 17 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Lauderdale 1
Madison 1
Pearl River 1
Prentiss 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. 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 rising since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, is 701, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 597 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 104 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 158 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 70 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 97,675 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 84.9% of the cumulative 115,088 cases reported Saturday, Oct. 24.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Saturday, Oct. 3, was 1,428, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,373, or about 88.7% of the 1,548 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Oct. 24. The county has an estimated 120 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. 10, is 900,479 or about 30.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Without an updated number of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average), however, the rate was 16.6% Thursday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.8%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 133 Saturday. About 40.1%, or 1,304, 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. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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COVID-19

New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. approach July’s one-day record; 795 new cases in Mississippi

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Thursday, the U.S. saw its second highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day since the crisis began, with  76,195 new cases reported. The one-day record high of 77,299 new cases occurred July 16, according to a Reuters analysis.

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar attributed the increase in cases to behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a “major vector of disease spread.”

Deaths in the U.S. have also increased, with the seven-day average of 785, up 13% in the last week.

“We’re in a very serious moment right now,” Azar said.

Currently in the U.S., more than 8.4 million cumulative COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, and 223,087 Americans have died since the beginning of the outbreak, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world in numbers of infections and deaths, although new surges are being reported worldwide.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported seven new COVID-19 cases Friday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,543, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 795 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 113,876. The seven-day average of new cases is 660, higher by 183 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 Friday that seven additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,238. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

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.

The seven deaths MSDH reported Friday occurred between Oct. 17 and Oct. 21 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Friday
Clarke 1
Hancock 1
Hinds 1
Marshall 2
Panola 1
Tippah 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. 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 rising since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, is 695, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 599 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 96 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 68 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 97,675 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 85.8% of the cumulative 113,876 cases reported Friday, Oct. 23.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Friday, Oct. 2, was 1,425, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,370, or about 88.9% of the 1,543 cumulative cases reported as of Friday, Oct. 23. The county has an estimated 118 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 Friday, Oct. 10, 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 16.6% Thursday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.7%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 130 Friday. About 40.2%, or 1,301, 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. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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COVID-19

Mississippi Rental Assistance grant applications being accepted

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(Photo by Photo Mix from Pixabay)

Applications for the Mississippi Rental Assistance Grant Program are being accepted by the Mississippi Development Authority as of Thursday.

The program is designed for landlords with tenants who have fallen behind on rent due to COVID-19. The program will cover rent going back to March for tenants who have been unable to pay because they lost their job or have reduced income due to COVID-19.

Landlords are eligible for up to $30,000 and must credit grant funds to their tenants’ past due rents. Renters cannot apply directly for this program and should contact their landlords about applying on their behalf. Both small and large landlords can apply for the program.

Landlords should visit www.mississippi.org/mrap to learn more about the program and apply. The application deadline is Nov. 15.

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