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Vicksburg National Military Park’s Ranger Ray wins Educators Award

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Ranger Raymond Ray with a group of Junior Rangers beneath the USS Cairo.

On Nov. 14 Ranger Raymond Ray, from the Vicksburg National Military Park, made history by winning the Historic Naval Ships Association Educators Award for his dedication and enthusiasm in interpreting the USS Cairo and the role of navies in the campaign for Vicksburg.

This award pays tribute to a fleet member who goes above and beyond to further the education program of their organization. 

Leading up to earning the award, Ray shadowed other members of the parks interpretive team, conducted steady research of the topic and tested different strategies with visitors on how to best discuss the information. 

With a 29-year career with the National Park Service, he says that change is the hardest thing to adjust to in his field.

“Keeping our stories relevant as interpreter trends change,[interpreters] had to adapt to social media to make our stories more relevant to a newer generation and different demographics,” Ray said.

A native of Pensacola, Fla., Ray said that moving to Vicksburg proved to be a drastic change for him but after becoming engulfed in the history of the River City, he soon adjusted to life here.

“The research is compelling and interesting to me, which helped to do the job more effectively,” he said. “The story behind the Vicksburg Campaign and the U.S. naval contribution during the Civil War is pretty compelling stuff.”

Vicksburg Daily News commends Ranger Ray for the hard work he’s done with the National Park Service and congratulates him for his accomplishments. 

“I was surprised and honored,” he said about the award. “It was a nice validation for the efforts of what we do here at the National Park Service to preserve resources, significance and history on a national level.”

For more information about the Vicksburg National Military Park and the USS Cairo exhibit, call 601-636-0583 or visit the park website

COVID-19

Mayor advocates being proactive to slow the spread of COVID-19

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Mayor George Flaggs Jr. during his Nov. 25 news conference. (photo via video screen grab)

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. urged residents to be proactive to slow the spread of COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, Flaggs issued a supplemental proclamation for the five-day period beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and ending at midnight, Monday, Nov. 30.

Following is a summary of the proclamation:

  1. Face coverings required in public spaces, both indoors and outdoors, if social distancing (6 feet apart) isn’t possible.
  2. Exceptions to the face covering requirements. Face coverings do not apply to the following:
    1. Any individual who will not come in contact with any other individual (outside of their immediate household members) or who will be able to maintain strict social distancing of 6 feet apart from any other individual (outside of immediate household);
    2. Any child under the age of eight; however, all children between the ages of 2 and 7 years old are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.
    3. Any individual with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering;
    4. Any individual who is consuming food or drinks;
    5. Any individual seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired;
    6. Any individual giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience; and
    7. Any individual temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes.
  3. Upon returning from the Thanksgiving Holiday Monday Nov. 30, 2020, all Vicksburg City Government employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including temperature. THIS WILL BE MANDATORY FOR ALL EMPLOYEES.
  4. This Proclamation is supplemental to the Proclamation currently in effect. All other matters in the Proclamation issued Nov. 2, 2020, through Dec. 3, 2020, remain in full force and effect.

Read the entire proclamation.

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COVID-19

1,092 new COVID-19 cases reported in Mississippi Wednesday

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COVID-19 cases and deaths are continuing to skyrocket seemingly unabated across the nation as it comes into the Thanksgiving holiday. At least 178,200 new cases and 2,216 deaths were reported Tuesday.

Mississippi reported another day of more than 1,000 cases Wednesday and 16 additional deaths, while the seven-day average dropped somewhat to about 1,177 per day. Hospitalizations are increasing with new cases, threatening the state’s health care system.

In Warren County, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported four new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,726, and the county’s death toll is 57.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,092 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 145,636. The seven-day average of new cases is 1,177 per day, about 438 cases higher than the seven-day average a month ago. The average is on par with numbers seen in July.

At the beginning of the crises, the age group with the most COVID-19 cases were those over 65. Now, most new cases are seen in younger people who are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. In September, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi were 18 to 24 years old. That has shifted to a slightly older group. In November, 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 Wednesday that 16 more Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,745. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.6%. This rate has dropped slightly as the number of cases are going up faster than the number of deaths at this time.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw a huge spike in new cases, August saw the highest number of deaths to date. The highest number of deaths in any one day in Mississippi was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 16 deaths MSDH reported Wednesday, 15 occurred between Nov. 2 and Nov. 24 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Wednesday
Adams 1
Alcorn 2
Bolivar 1
Covington 1
Hinds 2
Jackson 1
Jones 1
Lauderdale 1
Madison 1
Perry 1
Rankin 2
Tishomingo 1

One additional COVID-19 related death occurred Nov. 12 in Kemper County and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 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 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; however, since Nov. 4 hospitals have seen a steady rise in COVID-19 patients once again.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, was 1,041, about 87% of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 946 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 95 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 224 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 107 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 121,637 through Sunday, Nov. 22. It represents about 83.5% of the cumulative 145,636 cases reported as of Wednesday, Nov. 25.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Wednesday, Nov. 4, was 1,591, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,534, or about 88.9% of the 1,726 cumulative cases reported as of Wednesday, Nov. 25. The county has an estimated 135 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, Nov. 21, is 1,237,802 or about 41.6% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. MSDH reports statewide test results once a week. 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 estimated rate was 17.8% Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 9.5%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 158 Wednesday, an increase of five since Tuesday. About 38%, or 1,424, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in LTC facilities is 7,521, about 5.2% of the state’s total cases.

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 by provider here. The latest data available is for the week ending Nov. 8.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Events

Annual Christmas Parade of Lights canceled

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Vicksburg Christmas Parade 2019

Vicksburg Main Street has announced that the annual Christmas Parade of Lights scheduled for Dec. 5 has been canceled.

Applications to participate in the parade, themed “Frozen in Time,” were due today.

Instead of the parade, Vicksburg Main Street is “reimagining” the event, substituting several smaller events to celebrate Christmas in Vicksburg.

  1. “This is an unusual year and we certainly want everyone to have a safe holiday,” said Board President Christi Kilroy. ” These well-thought-out changes were made to protect the people who visit downtown. The board and staff have done everything they can to keep the downtown
    experience festive and fun for the holidays.”

Vicksburg Christmas events include:

  • Friday, Nov. 27, live music at 5:30 p.m. and City of Vicksburg Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. – Santa will be present
  • Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 27 – Christmas in the Park- Make plans to see all the Christmas lights and decorations at Washington Street Park
  • Saturday, Nov. 28, All Day – Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday, Nov. 29, 1 to 5 p.m.- Old Fashion Holiday Open House. Shoppers who spend $25 or more will receive a poinsettia from the Vicksburg Main Street Program. Santa will be strolling Washington Street and available for pictures – bring your camera!
  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m. Reindeer Run at Catfish Row
  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Levee Street Marketplace Christmas Open House
  • Sunday, Dec. 6, 3 to 8 p.m., Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Kids in the Kitchen Christmas
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Vicksburg Convention Center’s Breakfast with Santa
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bella la Vita Photography Toys for Tots Toy Drive
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 2 to 6 p.m., Second Saturday
  • Sunday, Dec. 13-12:30 p.m. Vicksburg Convention Center’s Holiday Jazz Brunch “Miracle on Swing Street”

Vicksburg’s Main Street organization appreciates the public’s support in the redesign of this year’s celebration and hopes that each and every citizen will visit the festive downtown area this holiday season to support our merchants, restaurants and businesses. The board and staff of Vicksburg Main Street remains committed to growing the economic vitality of our downtown and community.

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