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COVID-19

Vicksburg COVID-19 vaccination site could open as soon as the week of Feb. 1

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Saturday, John Elfer, Warren County Emergency Management director, met with Jim Craig, director of health protection at the Mississippi State Department of Health, at Pemberton Mall in Vicksburg to plan the opening of a Vicksburg drive-thru vaccination site.

Elfer said he is confident the site will be opened within the next few weeks, and, hopefully, as soon as the week of Feb. 1. Opening the site is dependent on Mississippi having sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

Friday, MSDH announced that additional doses of vaccines have been allotted to Mississippi. The agency expects to be able to offer new vaccination appointments again beginning the week of Jan. 25. After expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, Mississippi allotted all of its available vaccines in about 24 hours and stopped taking new appointments. MSDH assured residents that if they are scheduled to receive the second, required dose of vaccine, those appointments can still be scheduled now, indicating second shots have been set aside for those who need them.

A total of 109,354 Mississippians were inoculated against COVID-19 as of Jan. 16, including 9,588 who have received both required doses.

For information about vaccines, how and where to get vaccinated and vaccine distribution in Mississippi, please visit the MSDH website.

The federal government said Friday it has delivered some 31.2 doses of vaccine to states, territories and federal agencies.

About 10.6 million Americans have received the first dose of one of two COVID-19 vaccines, woefully short of the national goal of 20 million inoculated by the end of 2020. At least 1.6 million individuals have received both of the doses required for full inoculation. Additional information about the vaccines can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The virus in Mississippi and nationwide

COVID-19 statistics for Mississippi continue to show two areas that hold a glimmer of hope that the worst of the surge may be beginning to wane.

The first is that hospitalizations have been virtually flat and even decreased a bit. On Jan. 4, total hospitalizations for the virus reached a high of 1,518. Thursday’s hospitalizations totaled 1,407, a decrease of 111 people. This cautiously optimistic news is tempered by the fact that those seriously ill and on ventilators is about as high as it’s ever been in the state.

The second bit of good news is that for the third consecutive day, the seven-day average of cases is slightly lower than it was a month ago. Saturday’s seven-day average is about 2,000 cases, about 139 fewer cases (about 6.5%) than the seven-day average of Dec. 16 of 2,139 cases per day. Note that three days don’t make a trend; however, the signs are good.

The expected surge of new cases and hospitalizations after the year-end holidays may still hit within the next week or two. Mississippi has already seen two record one-day highs in COVID-19 deaths this month: 98 reported Jan. 12 and 91 reported Jan. 5.

Saturday, Warren County reported 67 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths. Cumulative totals in the county are 3,445 cases and 97 deaths.

Based on the first 16 days of January, Warren County could see between 1,300 and 1,400 cases by the end of the month, eclipsing all monthly case totals so far.

Saturday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 2,680 new COVID-19 cases statewide, bringing the cumulative total of cases to 250,869. It is the second cumulative day with more than 2,000 cases reported.

In the first 16 days of January, the state has reported 35,058 new cases, with two days of more than 3,000 cases. If current trends hold, the state is on track to see its worst month yet, with nearly 68,000 cases.

Warren County’s 14-day total of new cases is 603 with a daily average of about 43 cases. The seven-day average is about 40 cases a day, with 279 cases reported in the past seven days. The county is on the governor’s list of COVID-19 hot spots that include all but four of Mississippi’s 82 counties — Claiborne, Issaquena, Sharkey and Tunica — three of which neighbor Warren.

COVID-19 is one of the state’s leading causes of death at this time, according to State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. To see other causes of death in the state, including deaths from flu and pneumonia, click here.

With hospitalizations for COVID-19 hovering between 1,400 and 1,500, hospitals across the state — including Merit Health River Region in Vicksburg — are reporting that no ICU beds are available for any seriously ill or injured person, not just COVID-19 patients.

State health officials are strongly urging Mississippians not to hold or attend any gatherings that include people not in their immediate families. In addition, they urge wearing a mask in public, keeping 6 feet of social distance and maintaining good hand hygiene.

The virus nationwide

The U.S. continues to lead the world in numbers of cases and deaths by a wide margin.

Nationally, the cumulative cases in the U.S. have soared to more than 23.6 million, with some sources putting the figure as high as 24.1 million. Numbers of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise sharply.

The number of people who have died in the U.S. since the beginning of the crisis is about 392,529.

At least 3,744 people died of the virus Friday in the U.S., and at least 240,925 new cases were reported. The numbers of new cases have increased about 19% in the last 14 days, and the rate of deaths has increased by about 32%. About 127,235 people were in the hospital Friday for COVID-19, an increase of 6% in the past two weeks.

Since September, the average numbers of cases have risen steadily from about 35,000 new cases a day to nearly a quarter million per day. The U.S. is also averaging more than 3,000 deaths per day. Tuesday, the nation set a new one-day record of COVID-19 deaths when 4,406 people died in a single day.

Surges in COVID-19 deaths in California and Arizona are fueling the monumental U.S. death toll, which is quickly nearing 400,000.

The five worst-hit states are scattered around the country: Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina are averaging the highest rate of new cases per 100,000 people. The states with the highest number of new cases reported in the last seven days include California, Texas, New York, Florida and Georgia.

Local and statewide COVID-19 statistics for Saturday, Jan. 16

In Warren County, MSDH reported 67 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and two new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 3,445, and the county’s death toll is 97. The seven-day average of new cases in the county is about 43 per day, about 43% higher than the average of cases a month ago.

Statewide, MSDH reported 2,680 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 250,869. The seven-day average of new cases is 2,000 per day, about 6.5% lower than the seven-day average a month ago. In January, 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 Saturday that 70 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the cumulative number of deaths in the state to 5,481. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.2%. This rate drops when the number of cases is going up faster than the number of deaths.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. The current surge began in Mississippi in late October, and nearly 1,000 deaths were reported in December. The state is seeing record deaths in January after record case numbers in December, with Tuesday’s 98 deaths and 91 deaths Jan. 9.

Of the 70 deaths MSDH reported Saturday, 50 occurred between Jan. 6 and Jan. 15 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Saturday by MSDH
Adams 4
Forrest 1
Harrison 2
Hinds 5
Itawamba 1
Jackson 5
Jasper 1
Jones 1
Lamar 1
Lauderdale 3
Lee 4
Leflore 1
Lowndes 2
Madison 1
Monroe 1
Neshoba 2
Oktibbeha 1
Panola 1
Pike 1
Prentiss 1
Rankin 2
Scott 2
Stone 2
Tippah 1
Union 1
Warren 2
Winston 1

An additional 20 COVID-19 related deaths occurred between Nov. 19, 2020, and Jan. 10, 2021, and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Alcorn 2
Chickasaw 1
Clay 1
Hancock 1
Hinds 1
Lamar 1
Lee 2
Pearl River 3
Prentiss 1
Rankin 1
Tate 1
Tippah 2
Washington 1
Winston 2

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number has risen steadily since Nov. 4, 2020. Since Jan. 4, hospitalizations have remained flat and have even seen a slight decline. Regardless, COVID-19 hospitalizations threaten the state’s health care system as never before.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, was 1,407. The number includes 1,332 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 75 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 340 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 212 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 198,888 through Sunday, Jan. 10. It represents about 79.3% of the cumulative 250,869 cases reported as of Saturday, Jan. 16.

The number of cumulative cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Saturday, Dec. 26, was 2,487, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 2,390, or about 69.4% of the 3,445 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Jan. 16. The county has an estimated 958 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, Jan. 10, is 1,903,704 or about 64% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results about once a week. Without daily updated numbers of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (which shows whether enough testing is being done, positive results to tests, seven-day average); however, the estimated rate was 26.7% Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate was 11.4%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 209 Saturday, a decrease of 11 since Friday. About 33.2%, or 1,822, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 9,888 Saturday, about 3.9% of the state’s total cases.

A total of 38 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 that information 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 Jan. 3.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website or call the COVID-19 hotline seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at 877-978-6453.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News