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Vicksburg firefighters deployed to assist the coast as Hurricane Zeta nears

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Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk deployed two firefighter paramedics to assist Mississippi’s coastal counties in responding to Hurricane Zeta.

The firefighters left Vicksburg at noon Wednesday. Danczyk said coastal emergency management directors made the manpower request through the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

The deployments do not affect the Vicksburg Fire Department’s ability to respond to local incidents, Danczyk said, as manpower levels are such that Vicksburg can render aid to other agencies and communities. He added that the individuals selected for this assignment have a wide skill set and can step in and help wherever needed.

Out of respect for the firefighters’ families, Danczyk would not identify them, but asked that the community keep them and all first responders in its thoughts and prayers as they respond to Zeta.

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Vicksburg recognizes VFD Capt. Jeffery Ross for 30 years of service

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Vicksburg Fire Department Capt. Jeffery Ross was honored by the city for 30 years of service. (photo courtesy VFD)

Friday, the City of Vicksburg recognized Capt. Jeffery Ross of the Vicksburg Fire Department who has served the department for 30 years.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour commended Ross for his years of service at the Oct. 23 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting .

“I would like to thank the mayor and aldermen for the recognition,” Ross said. “I would also like to thank my family and friends for staying with me every step of the way.”

Ross graduated from Hinds Community College where he was studying computer programming. He was headed to Jackson State University but changed his career path when he received the news that he was going to be father to a daughter.

He began working as a firefighter Oct. 30, 1990, and has been with the city’s fire department ever since. Ross has shown his support for Vicksburg by being a part of a crew dedicated to keeping residents safe.

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COVID-19

Mississippi reports 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

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So far in October, more than half of all U.S. states have reported record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. Missouri is the only state that is reporting a significant drop in new cases. With increased cases come increased hospitalizations. Wisconsin, for example, has set up a field hospital at the state fairgrounds. Deaths, which are a lagging indicator, have also increased in the past couple of weeks, but not as quickly as new cases.

In Mississippi, the number of new reported cases hit 1,000 Wednesday, driving the seven-day average up to nearly 800 per day.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported one new COVID-19 case Wednesday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,561, and the county’s death toll is 56.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 117,617. The seven-day average of new cases is 785, higher by 286 cases — more than a third higher— 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 Wednesday that 19 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,302. 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 19 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 13 occurred between Oct. 15 and Oct. 27 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Adams 1
Attala 1
Benton 2
Bolivar 1
Chickasaw 1
Desoto 1
Harrison 1
Jefferson Davis 1
Lamar 1
Tippah 1
Yalobusha 2

Six COVID-19 related deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Aug. 19 and Oct. 20 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Bolivar 1
Humphreys 1
Jackson 1
Lamar 1
Washington 1
Wilkinson 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. 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 began rising since then. The have leveled off again this week.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, is 666, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 577 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 89 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 157 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 62 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 101,385 through Sunday, Oct. 25. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 86.9% of the cumulative 117,617 cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Oct. 7, was 1,443, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,387, or about 88.9% of the 1,561 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Oct. 28. 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 Saturday, Oct. 17 (the latest testing results reported by MSDH), is 949,085 or about 31.9% 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, Oct. 22, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 6.2%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 132 Wednesday. About 39.8%, or 1,315, 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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Announcements

MDHS requesting proposals for TANF grants

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The Mississippi Department of Human Services is requesting proposals from organizations best positioned to provide services in low income, at-risk areas of the state. The RFP is scheduled to be issued Monday, Nov. 2.

The agency will primarily invest Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant dollars, in concert with public and private partners to fund the programs outlined in the RFP.

“Our mission at MDHS is to make certain essential services available, while serving as good stewards of taxpayer money,” said MDHS Executive Director Robert G. “Bob” Anderson in a statement. “We are committed to providing statewide service delivery to our clients, and we need competitive proposals from across the state to accomplish that goal.”

The RFP will request services in the following areas:

Afterschool Program Activities

MDHS is soliciting nonprofit organizations and non-federal entities (i.e., state government; local school districts) to implement a program for age appropriate services, in multiple locations, with a priority given to entities that target children and youth attending high poverty/low performing schools and/or at-risk youth attending schools in high poverty areas where high juvenile justice referrals take place. Programs will service the target populations during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session such as afterschool and summer recess. Programs should give preference to those that receive MDHS services.

Parenthood Initiative

MDHS is soliciting nonprofit organizations and non-federal entities (i.e., state government; local school districts), in multiple locations, to provide and coordinate a wide spectrum of parent-focused programs to support the formation and maintenance of two-parent families that improve family stability and functioning. Services provided should support overall goals of safety, permanency, and well-being for children and families.

The purpose of the Parenthood Initiative is to train, educate, encourage, and assist parents in becoming knowledgeable and assuming responsibility for the nurturing, financial, growth and developmental needs of their children. In addition, the Parenthood initiative should strive to demonstrate the ability to collaborate with other service providers and community stake holders to increase support for and accountability to the families.

Upon award, subgrantees will be required to prepare and submit demographic and outcome reports designed by MDHS. Subgrantees shall submit these reports by a MDHS designated due date (no more than monthly; no less than quarterly). Evaluation and outcome reports are an integral element of the program’s ongoing planning, design and implementation. An effective report that evaluates specific targets enables the subgrantee to make informed decisions about changes that the program may need.

To further develop quality MDHS partnerships, MDHS will offer a general grant writing training free of charge for organizations interested in responding to MDHS solicitations. The training will be conducted at the MDHS State Office Building (South Tower of the City Centre building), located at 200 South Lamar Street, Jackson, on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Training will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon.

The training will be archived for those who are not able to attend Oct. 29, and will subsequently be offered Nov. 5, 12 and 19 at the same time through Zoom. On Oct. 30, MDHS will provide registration instructions for the November training sessions.

The training, which will be conducted by MDHS staff, will cover all aspects of grant writing from the seven basic elements of a strong grant proposal to finalizing the proposal for submission.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer this as a service to anyone wishing to become a partner of the agency,” Anderson said. “This will provide a great benefit to our key stakeholders, and I encourage anyone wishing to submit a response to the RFP to take advantage of it.”

The training will be offered in person and virtual. Anyone interested in participating should register for this training opportunity by completing the SmartForm online. A SmartForm will need to be completed per participant, not per company. Space is limited due to social distancing guidelines and in-person training will be first come, first served. If you select “in-person” you will receive a confirmation from Procurement Services as to whether your registration was one of the first 20 received. If space is not available, you will still have the virtual option.

Once registered, those choosing to participate virtually will be given instructions on how to connect via Zoom.

For more information on the training and to view the agenda, visit the MDHS training webpage.

For more information on the request for proposals, go to the MDHS RFP webpage.

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