BREAKING NEWS Finally Feeling Like Fall Full Story

More COVID-19 shots, studies offer hope for US schools

File Image | Photo Date: 3/24/2021 | Credit: City of Las Vegas

Officials are offering new hope for the safety of U.S. schoolchildren threatened by COVID-19.

Posted: Aug 27, 2021 2:53 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2021 2:53 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials offered new hope for the safety of U.S. schoolchildren threatened by COVID-19 on Friday as Gulf Coast hospitals already full of unvaccinated patients braced for the nightmare scenario of a major hurricane causing a wave of fractures, cuts and heart attacks without enough staff to treat the injured.

The Biden administration said half of U.S. adolescents ages 12-17 had gotten at least their first COVID-19 vaccine, and the inoculation rate among teens is growing faster than any other age group.

“We have now hit a major milestone,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a briefing. “This is critical progress as millions of kids head back to school.”

Meanwhile, new studies from California both provided more evidence that schools can open safely if they do the right things and highlighted the danger of failing to follow proper precautions.

A study of COVID-19 cases from the winter pandemic peak in Los Angeles County found that case rates among children and adolescents were about 3½ times lower than in the general community when schools followed federal guidance on mask wearing, physical distancing, testing and other virus measures, officials said.

Another study from Marin County, north of San Francisco, found that a single unvaccinated teacher who came back to school two days after showing symptoms and read to her class without wearing a mask led to 26 other infections in May, before the highly contagious delta variant ran wild.

“Most of the places where we are seeing surges and outbreaks are in places that are not implementing our current guidance,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who discussed the studies at a briefing.

More than 3,100 active coronavirus cases have been reported in Arkansas public schools among students and employees, according to newly released numbers, and most youths are enrolled in districts that require masks. The mandates emerged after a judge temporarily blocked a state law that banned mask mandates in Arkansas, which ranks fifth nationally for new virus cases per capita, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

On the northern Gulf Coast, where Ida was forecast to become a dangerous hurricane before it hits on Sunday, workers at Singing River Gulfport expect to have to raise flood gates to keep rising water out of the hospital that is full of COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom aren't vaccinated, said facilities director Randall Cobb.

Complicating matters, he said, was that the hospital is short-staffed because of the pandemic and also expects to get a flood of patients suffering from ailments that typically follow any hurricane: broken bones, heart attacks, breathing problems and lacerations.

“It's going to be bad. It's going to be really bad,” Cobb said.

Located a few miles from the coast, the hospital has enough generator fuel, food and other supplies to operate on its own for at least 96 hours, he said, and it will help anyone who has a serious, life-threatening condition. But officials were trying to get the word out that people with less severe medical problems should go to special-needs storm shelters or contact emergency management.

“It’s very stressful because it’s too late if we have not thought of everything. Patients are counting on the medical care but also on the facility to be available,” Cobb said.

About 1,100 people are dying daily of COVID-19 in the United States, the most since mid-March, according to Johns Hopkins University data. About 85,000 people were hospitalized with the illness nationwide early this week, CDC data shows, the highest total since the post-holiday surge in early February.

The surge is largely fueled by the highly contagious delta variant among people who are not vaccinated. In areas where vaccination rates are particularly low, doctors have pleaded with their communities to get inoculated to spare overburdened hospitals. In places including Alabama, federal teams have been brought into to assist exhausted workers and fill staffing gaps caused by COVID-19 infections and exposure.

In Idaho, one of the least vaccinated states, intensive care units are running out of space and one 330-bed hospital, Kootenai Health, converted classrooms into patient care space.

The largest classroom became a treatment room for as many as 21 coronavirus patients who don’t need the kind of specialized monitoring provided by intensive care units. Other classrooms were turned into treatment areas where hospitalized COVID-19 patients can receive monoclonal antibody therapy in hopes of keeping them from needing a hospital bed.

Idaho also is calling on people with health care skills or a simple willingness to help to sign up for the state’s Medical Reserve Corps. Retired health care workers can get temporary license renewals, and others can help with tasks such as contact tracing and data entry.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 813481

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139971910
Mobile722271323
Madison51970686
Shelby37279341
Baldwin37069540
Tuscaloosa34934599
Montgomery33953725
Lee23142240
Calhoun22142470
Morgan20639372
Etowah19758496
Marshall18245300
Houston17302405
St. Clair15912337
Cullman15306290
Limestone15202198
Elmore15075284
Lauderdale14143294
Talladega13715272
DeKalb12569259
Walker11085366
Blount10094174
Autauga9893146
Jackson9789180
Coffee9182189
Dale8859181
Colbert8789200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6732127
Covington6682179
Chilton6587160
Russell625958
Franklin5930105
Chambers5559142
Marion4955126
Dallas4882199
Clarke472782
Pike4719105
Geneva4564126
Winston4473101
Lawrence4264117
Bibb421686
Barbour355475
Marengo334089
Monroe330262
Randolph327063
Butler324794
Pickens313882
Henry310965
Hale309187
Cherokee299957
Fayette290679
Washington250951
Cleburne246958
Crenshaw243575
Clay240367
Macon230562
Lamar215846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178538
Lowndes173761
Wilcox167438
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131038
Greene125544
Choctaw86927
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
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Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
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63° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
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64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
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