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WCBI News at Ten - March 23, 2020

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WCBI News at Ten - March 23, 2020
WCBI News at Ten - March 23, 2020
WCBI News at Ten - March 23, 2020

Thanks for joining us tonight..

The mississippi state health department is working to open several drive-thru testing facilities across the state.

They are ánotá up and running just yet - but others managed by different medical groups and hospitals are.

Courtney ann jackson breaks down what you need to know about testing capabilities statewide.

More testing sites means you'll likely see the statewide covid-19 case count rise.

Ummc chief administrative officer jonathan wilson says not to be alarmed by that.

"the same number of people have covid-19 as they did before we started testing.

It's just now we have visibility on with those numbers actually are.

We can manage to those numbers to know what's working well, where do we need to focus our efforts."

Mea medical clinic's dr. bill grantham makes a similar note.

"the numbers are seeing today represent what the infection rate was several days ago.

It is still taking a number of days to even get the results back.

That's just the way the testing works."

The ummc mobile testing site includes a telehealth screening process before patients are directed to the site for testing.

Nat sound this is a mock run- through of what you should expect to see if you were sent to the fairgrounds location for testing and what you'll see those employees wearing.

"we are following cdc guidelines.

So, you will see them in a gown and a mask and a face shield and gloves.

So that's the personal protective equipment that's recommended by the cdc."

The other sites set up around the state are not using that c spire app but they are following the same guidelines that they want you to call in before showing up.

"we'll determine if you need an office visit or if you need a virtual visit or if we need to refer you to a specific site for covid testing."

Another common thread for all testing sites-they are testing only those showing symptoms-for this reason.

"there's no real benefit in testing asymptomatic people at this time.

If you have symptoms and you test negative today, it doesn't mean you're not going to test positive tomorrow.

It can be a false sense of security."

Two things we can't stress enough--don't show up at the testing site expecting to be tested.

You áhaveá to call ahead.

And as you heard them say in the story ..if you don't have symptoms--it's not time to be tested.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across mississippi, first responders are making changes to some of their emergency procedures..

Emt's at och regional medical center are actually experiencing a slight ádeclineá in calls.

They're chalking that up to people refraining from calling them unless it is a true emergency..

But on all of their calls they must follow new protocols to protect themselves - their patients - and others at the hospital..

" "there's questions that we're asking.

" have you had a fever in the last 24 hours?

Do you currently have a fever?

Have you been exposed to anyone that's currently been tested?"

" of course we take the appropriate precautions.

We suit up, we glove up, we have gowns and all the protective clothing that we wear because we want to protect ourselves.

We're going to continue clean our equipment once we get back to make sure there's no type of residual effect or residual something that's in the back of our truck.

" emergency crews will continue to follow these practices as long as the threat of contracting coronavirus is present.

First look stinger first look monday night: mostly cloudy during the evening.

Some rain and storms are likely by sunrise.

A few of the storms could produce hail.

Lows around 60.

Tuesday: a batch of morning showers and storms followed by a lull.

Southerly winds boost temperatures to around 80 by early to mid afternoon.

Additional storms are expected after 2 p.m.

And some of them may be strong to severe with damaging wind, hail, and perhaps even an isolated tornado.

The threat will diminish by mid evening.

Strong ssw winds 10-20 mph with gusts to 25.

Take new at 10 stinger gfx major changes are on the way to lowndes county.... during a special called meeting.... supervisors passed an ordinance that calling for some businesses to close..

And changes the way restaurants will now operate... our quentin smith was at the meeting... and joins us live in downtown columbus quentin... do we know when these changes will go into effect?

Into effect?

Quentin... do we know when these changes will go into effect?


Everything will go into effect beginning tomorrow at 5 p- m.... the board of supervisors passed an ordinance that mirrors the one passed by the columbus city council over the weekend.

The only difference is ... in the county.... all recreational buildings are forced to close at this time... but recreational facilities such as walking tracks will remain open.

The ordinance limits gathers to no more than 10 people.... and also.... dining inside restaurants is no longer allowed... non-essential businesses such as child care facilities..

Hair salons..

Barbershops... and gyms..

Just to name a few... will close until further notice.

6 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in lowndes county.

Board president harry sanders says this ordinance to help prevent the fatal virus from spreading.

" we can't cure it right now, but we can slow it down.

The reason we need to do that is because there's not enough hospital beds and ventilators in our county to take care of the people if more than 30 or 40 of them need to be on generators, we just don't have the room form so we need to slow it down."

The ordinance carries a fine one thousand dollars per day or spend up to 90 days in jail essential businesses include - hospitals, gas stations, and pharmacies are excluded from this ordinance.

There is also a new curfew in effect from 10 p-m until 6 a-m... these changes go into effect tomorrow at 5 pm.

Vo wipe to vo the county's curfew hours be in effect this time tomorrow... however..

For the city of columbus..

It's already in effect... which explains why everything out here is empty and quiet... although the curfew is in place..... there have still been some questions about what constitutes essential travel.

Police chief fred shelton says traveling to work, to pick up food, to buy groceries, etc.

Are considered essential travel.

The chief says this is in place to prevent large gatherings late at night... if anyone is caught breaking curfew... they can be fined one thousand dollars and spend up to three months in jail.... "our officers are going to use common sense.

We're going to look at it and we're going to evaluate a situation.

If you have any sensual need to go somewhere, we're not going to stop you.

If you say, oh i was on my way up here to the store to get some milk for my baby, or to get some popcorn to walk watch tv, that's fine., but if you're out here saying, oh i just wanted to see what was going on, or you didn't have a legitimate reason to be out, then of course we're going to take action."

Shelton says they've had two shelton says they've had two instances of of people calling and making false claims about someone having the coronavirus.

Just a reminder... the chief says a person can be charged with giving a false police report... if they're caught doing this... shelton encourages people to make sure all of their information is coming from a credible source such as the cdc.

That's the very latest from here in the friendly city..

Quentin smith..

Wcbi news... lee county supervisors are among the latest to lay out new rules to combat the spread of the coronavirus..

They advise residents to follow cdc guidelines..

Those guidelines include, restricting groups to less than ten people, social distancing, essential travel only, and frequent hand washing.

Also, those who are sick are asked to stay home.

Businesses are asked to follow mississippi department of health guidelines for food distribution by limiting service to curbside pickup, drive through, carry-out or delivery.

Supervisors did ánotá consider an order that would require residents to shelter in place.

Tupelo mayor jason shelton has issued executive orders that close non essential businesses, and mandate city residents to shelter in place.

The actions were taken to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

But a local attorney says the executive orders could mean big legal troubles for the city.

Allie martin breaks it down for us.

Nats phone ringing city hall the phones at city hall have been busy as residents , business owners and workers want to know if they are impacted by the mayor's executive orders.

Nats auction on saturday, an auction at the tupelo furniture market prompted mayor jason shelton to issue an executive order, limiting the size of public gatherings.

Before his executive order, mayor shelton had encouraged people to follow cdc recommendations, limiting the size of crowds.

"it really increased public awareness that the recommendations, already in place at that time were not being followed, it showed as a city we had to take mandatory action ."

That's what happened later in the day, when an executive order from mayor shelton ordered non essential businesses to close, and a shelter in place order was imposed on tupelo residents, except for necessary travel.

Jim waide is a trial lawyer who has concerns over the executive orders.

Waide says by forcing businesses to shut down, without providing compensation, the city is violating the us constitution.

"no business can be interrupted, stopped , taken over by the government, except by paying just compensation, it's been applied in most extreme cases, started out in civil war when federal government would take ships from private owners to use in the war, us supreme court said that's unconstitutional, it cannot be done.

" waide says the same principle applies when executive orders are issued shutting down businesses.

"u s supreme court ruled last year that if they take somebody's business or property they can immediately file civil rights suit in federal court and be compensated, the fact it's an emergency just goes to the fact they can do it, but that doesn't mean they can do it without paying just compensation."

Standup bridge the executive orders were hammered out during meetings and conference calls with city council members , staff and the city attorney.

The city's legal counsel says extreme measures are needed to hopefully stem the rise in cases of the coronavirus.

"we swell to a population of about 80 thousand everyday here in tupelo , not all those people are our residents, we are the hub of the region and this thing, you can't do nothing, have to start somewhere and we're doing that day by day."

City attorney ben logan says keeping the public safe is the main concern.

"it's going to last longer than we would hope, longer we wait to address it, longer it will last."

The current executive order is city leaders are meeting daily to get input from business owners and others impacted by the executive orders.

The demand for face masks continues to spike due to the corona virus.

And a local company is pivoting to help out.

Cml southern designz in columbus, is now making face masks for anyone in need, especially for health care workers.

Mary lou benton, who is in charge of making these masks.

Says health care workers are dealing with many patients each day..

So it is very important they remain as safe as possible.

"as long as these people get their masks i mean it's dangerous for them it really is when healthcare workers see patient after patient if the patient it is just horrible it is yours and that's what they chose to do but they need to be safe."

If you would like to purchase a face mask, you can reach them on their facebook page at cml southern designz.

We'll have more on what another group is doing to help healthcare workers meet their equipment needs later in the news..

Wipe to vo these uncertain times have a columbus restaurant changing their menu, for the time being..

Cafe on main isn't just serving up plate lunches.

The staff is helping people stock up on food and some supplies they may be running low in other stores.

Customers can buy casseroles and soups.

But they can also get bread,milk, and even toiletries.

Doors are open from 11am-12pm for senior citizens.

The general public is welcome to shop from 1pm-2pm.

Stinger wx open summary: additional showers are storms are possible later tonight and tuesday morning.

A few strong to severe storms may occur tuesday afternoon and evening.

Quiet and warm weather looks to build back in for the middle to end of the work week.

Monday night: mostly cloudy during the evening.

Some rain and storms are likely by sunrise.

A few of the storms could produce hail.

Lows around 60.

Tuesday: a batch of morning showers and storms followed by a lull.

Southerly winds boost temperatures to around 80 by early to mid afternoon.

Additional storms are expected after 2 p.m.

And some of them may be strong to severe with damaging wind, hail, and perhaps even an isolated tornado.

The threat will diminish by mid evening.

Strong ssw winds 10-20 mph with gusts to 25.

Tuesday night: partly cloudy.

Lows in the 50s.

Wednesday: turning partly cloudy.

Highs in the low 70s.

Wednesday night: clear and quiet.

Cooler lows in the upper 40s.

Thursday & friday: partly cloudy and warm.

Highs well into the 80s.

Some new record highs can't be ruled out.

Lows in the 60s.

Saturday: staying warm with more highs in the 80s.

Additional showers and storms are possible during the afternoon and evening with another cold front heading our way.

Some strong storms can't be ruled out and it's something we're going to continue monitoring.

Follow @wcbiweather on facebook, twitter, instagram, and on the wcbi news app stinger we look at some of the medical facts behind the coronavirus when we come back... take coronavirus isn't just áiná the news..

It áisá the news .

In tonight's health talk with baptist we find out more about the facts behind the disease.

No script available stinger the coronavirus is putting a strain on some local health workers, and that has some local residents stepping in to help..

We take a look at their efforts when we come back... like many medical facilities, och regional medical center is dealing with a shortage protective equipment.

A group of women who love to sew are making face masks to help.

Bobby martinez checks in with the women who started the local initiative on facebook.

"they told us they have a two week supply of masks."

A shortage of masks has healthcare workers on edge.

And in a time when americans are being told to stay home to avoid any potential spread of the corona virus... social media has been crucial to spreading the word.

"it started with the girl scouts troop 20230 first got really excited and reached out to och and we found others have reached out so we combine forces and we started posting on facebook and immediately people started getting excited."

Emily marett, who helped create the facebook page "starkville sew strong" - says the page became an immediate hit.

But getting the number of masks needed by och, is going to take a team effort.

"we know that och needs 500 masks as soon as possible so that's our first priority and once och is served we are going to hopefully get masks to other healthcare providers that are in desperate need as well."

Holly fron, who helped marett stitch together this issue... says health care workers are on the frontline in the fight against the virus.

"i have quite a few friends actually who are nurses at och.

Who are nurses all over the state, all over the world even.

And just knowing that this is such a global worldwide crisis, i cannot go to china and help those over there but here in my locality i can i can do good and that's my main goal."

Fron says anyone who is interested in sewing masks for och must follow this one rule..

"they do not want people going to och with their donations.

They do not want people going up to the hospital who do not need to be there."

Tag if you're wondering how you can help... we've put those resources up on our website... wcbi dot com..

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