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Right now is the worst the virus has been in Warren County

The number of cases Sunday has reached their worst level of this months-long COVID-19 pandemic in Warren County. The same could have been said for Saturday, and Friday.

With 38 new cases confirmed Sunday, Warren County’s two-week and one-week averages reached highs not yet seen during the now nine months the state has been battling the virus.

As of Sunday, the county has seen 28.1 new cases per day over the past week, surpassing the previous high of 23.3 per day that was recorded for the week ending July 23.

“When we look at the data from the past week, we are averaging more than 25 cases per day. Those numbers are devastating,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said after Sunday’s numbers were released by the Mississippi State Department of Health. “I beg and plead with the public to wear their masks when they cannot social distance. To please sanitize every chance they can and take the self-responsibility to protect their family, their friends and their loved ones.”

The numbers of new cases and sadly, deaths, have surged in Warren County since Thanksgiving.

In December alone, the county has reported 359 new cases. Just the cases reported in the first 13 days of December would make the month the third worst in the pandemic.

Also, eight virus-related deaths have been reported in December, pushing the total number killed by the virus to 65. By comparison, November had one virus-related death in Warren County.

The worst month thus far in virus-related deaths was August, when 21 people died.

State officials have continued to add counties to a growing list of those considered virus hot spots. Even though Warren County has long passed the thresholds set out by Gov. Tate Reeves and state health officials, Warren County has yet to be added.

The reason the county has likely avoided being declared a hot spot is that the county and city currently have mask mandate and social distancing measures in place, which are the tools the state puts in place in counties it declares hot spots.

Still, Flaggs said, he is calling this area a hot spot “whether the governor does or not. The time has come. The numbers show that we are.”

The surge also comes at a time when local leaders are doing what they can to curtail the spread of the virus, while at the same time not restricting any parts of the local economy.

Recently, the city of Vicksburg expanded its civil emergency orders to require masks to be worn outdoors when social distancing is not possible. It also required those hosting events of 20 people or more to check temperatures of those attending, and to keep a log of those who attend for contact tracing needs. Restaurants must check the temperatures of workers and guests before they enter.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors, during its regular meeting last Monday, decided not to include the changes made to the city’s order in the county’s order. Supervisors felt their current order, which does require masks to be worn by all employees and customers in local businesses and public buildings, and calls for social distancing were expansive enough for the time being. They also felt enforcing current or expanded orders has been and would be difficult.

Warren County Board of Supervisors President Dr. Jeff Holland said Sunday afternoon that supervisors would discuss the county’s ongoing orders during a work session Monday.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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