CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/23/2020

May 23, 2020

To help our readers keep themselves and their loved ones safe, the News Messenger asked Dr. Richard Wallace, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at UT Health East Texas, to talk about ways that people can navigate a world where COVID-19 is still a risk.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that it is mixing the results of two different kinds of tests in the agency’s tally of testing for the coronavirus, raising concerns among some scientists that it could be creating an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic in the United States.
 
The CDC combines the results of genetic tests that spot people who are actively infected, mostly by using a process known as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, with results from another, known as serology testing, which looks for antibodies in people’s blood. Antibody testing is used to identify people who were previously infected.
 
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, expressed concern that adding the two types of tests together could leave the impression that more testing of active cases had been conducted than was actually the case.
 
JHARRIS: TEST REVIEW 101:
 
I. ANTIGEN OR GENETIC OR EARLY TEST THAT SHOWS IF YOU HAVE COVID 19 VIRUS IN YOUR BODY. THIS TEST CAN BECOME POSITIVE A FEW DAYS BEFORE YOU GET SYMPTOMS AND MEANS YOU ARE CONTAGIOUS TO OTHERS. THIS EARLY TEST CAN BE PERFORMED ON SALIVA OR NASAL SWABS. THIS ACUTE TEST BECOMES NEGATIVE AS YOU  PRODUCED ANTIBODIES TO FIGHT THE INFECTION AND AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS BECOMES NEGATIVE.
 
II. ANTIBODY TEST IS USUALLY A BLOOD TEST AND BECOMES POSITIVE ABOUT 2 WEEKS AFTER YOU BECOME INFECTED. THIS TEST INDICATES THAT YOU HAVE HAD THE INFECTION AND MAY HAVE SOME IMMUNITY.  NO ONE YET KNOWS HOW LONG  THESE ANTIBODIES (NOT “ANTIBIOTICS”) REMAIN IN THE BLOOD. YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT CONTAGIOUS TO OTHERS NOW, PROBABLY. MAYBE NOT.
 
THE PROBLEM WITH INTERPRETING AND REPORTING THE RESULTS  OF THE TWO DIFFERENT TYPE TESTS ARE THAT THE AGENCIES MIX THE QUANTITIES OF TESTS ADMINISTERED  AS WELL AS THE RESULTS  TOGETHER RENDERING THE REPORTS OF THE RESULTS SEMI-WORTHLESS. THIS IS LIKE MIXING APPLES AND ORANGES. THE TESTS MEASURE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS AND LUMPING THE RESULTS TOGETHER DRIVES NUMBER CRUNCHERS CRAZY.
Wonderful article on same subject:
 
 
THIS GRAPH IS PRETTY SIMPLE AND SCARY. Thank you Edmund Wood
 
image.png
 

Northeast Texas case counts as of Saturday Morning

The total of reported cases of COVID-19 by Friday evening in Northeast Texas was at least 2,403, up from 2,349 a day earlier. Across the region, 108 total deaths had been reported Friday, which was unchanged from Thursday. Here’s a look at totals by county Friday and changes from Thursday:

Anderson: 66 (+2)

Angelina: 175 (+3), 2 deaths

Bowie: 154 (-22), 11 deaths

Camp: 39 (+7)

Cass: 26

Cherokee: 44, 2 deaths

Delta: 1

Franklin: 9 (+1)

Gregg: 195 (+8), 4 deaths

Harrison: 230 (+2), 23 deaths

Henderson: 55 (+3)

Hopkins: 15

Lamar: 133 (+5), 9 deaths

Marion: 15

Morris: 17 (+2)

Nacogdoches: 255 (+11), 17 deaths

Panola: 188, 21 deaths

Red River: 44 (+2), 4 deaths

Rusk: 44, 2 deaths

Shelby: 183, 5 deaths

Smith: 198, 4 deaths

Titus: 248 (+28 from Thursday), 2 deaths

Upshur: 20

Van Zandt: 26 (+1), 1 death

Wood: 23 (+1), 1 death

Totals: 2,403 and 108 deaths

Sources: Texas Department of State Health Services, Northeast Texas Public Health District, local officials

THIS COUNT A A GREAT FEATURE FROM THE TYLER NEWSPAPER
 
That Office AC System Is Great — at Recirculating Viruses  WOOPS. Most buildings have problems with safe ventilation. GOOD READ
 
Can I trust the air?

The largest clusters of virus cling to the heaviest droplets, which behave like falling leaves — swirling and dancing for a moment or two before carpeting the ground. But as we talk, sing, shout, and laugh, we also spray a fine mist that remains aloft for hours, mixing promiscuously with the exhalations of others. We can’t see these traveling fogs, but sometimes we can smell them. A perfume that lingers in an elevator, a plume of cigarette smoke, the odor of frying fish wafting through a vent — these olfactory markers track the course of particulate-laden clouds. It’s not yet clear whether the tiniest, aerosolized droplets can carry a big-enough payload of coronavirus molecules to make someone sick, but it’s a good idea to act as if they do.

 
“If you’re just recirculating infected air, you’re just continuously adding particles to that room. A closed system is probably a nightmare.”
 
A study of a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, in January, raises the possibility that a poorly functioning ventilation system can make things worse. An AC unit apparently focused one diner’s viral fumes in a beam of cool air and shot it across three adjacent tables, sickening ten people and leaving the rest of the restaurant untouched. The lesson from that incident is clear but unhelpful: If you sense a strong indoor breeze, get out of the way or at least stay upstream of anyone who might be infected.
 
Mechanical ventilation systems are expensive, bulky, and unreliable, sucking up energy and spewing bad air back outside for other systems to inhale. Natural ventilation is easier on the planet, potentially cheaper to run, and less liable to sicken the people who work inside.

The ultimate goal is to allow us all to breathe without thinking about it again — to have faith that professionals have done their best to neutralize threats none of us can see and most of us can’t even measure. “How do you visualize the invisible?” Murphy says. “That’s one of the core challenges of design.”

 
 
COLLINS PUN FOR THE DAY:No matter how much you push the envelope,

it’ll still be stationery.

 
 
 
 
 


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City of Marshall New Declaration of Local Disaster — May 19, 2020

[Marshall, Texas, May 19, 2020]

[Marshall, Texas] Mayor Terri Brown has issued a New Declaration of Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency Related to Communicable Disease on May 19, 2020. The declaration shall continue in effect until the Marshall City Commission terminates its consent to the continuation of this declaration or until the Mayor terminates this declaration, whichever occurs first.  This declaration is a direct reflection of Executive Order GA-23 issued by Governor Greg Abbott on May 18, 2020.

Valid immediately on May 18, 2020, these local orders allow the following openings:

  • Massage establishments and other facilities where licensed massage therapists or other persons licensed or otherwise authorized to practice under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code, provided all facilities must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.
  • Tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services, and hair loss treatment and growth services, provided all facilities must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.
  • Child-care services other than youth camps as described below.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020, in Marshall:

  • Dine-in restaurant services may operate at up to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the restaurant; provided, however, this applies only to restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas, interactive games, and video arcades, must remain closed.
  • Bars and similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed indoor occupancy of the establishment. Interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas, interactive games, and video arcades, must remain closed.
  • Aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities (excluding zoos) may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy or, for outdoor areas, at up to 25 percent of the standard operating limits as determined by the facility owner if permitted by the city. Interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas, must remain closed.
  • Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent authorized by state law, and skating rinks may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment; provided bowling alleys must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating lanes. Video arcades must be closed.
  • Rodeos and equestrian events may operate at up to 25 percent of the facility’s total listed occupancy or, for outdoor areas, up to 25 percent of the standard operating limits as determined by the facility owner. This policy does not permit a larger gathering, such as county fairs, where such an event is not authorized.
  • Drive-in concerts, under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing, that generally require spectators to remain in their vehicles, and that minimize in-person contact between people who are not in the same household or car.
  • Amateur sporting events are eligible where there is no access to the general public allowed. All participants have tested negative for COVID-19 before the event. Participants are to be quarantined for the duration of the game, temperature-checked and monitored for symptoms daily, and tested again for COVID-19 at the end.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Marshall:

  • Youth camps, including but not limited to those defined as such under Chapter 141 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and including all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youths.
  • Youth sports programs may begin practice on May 31, 2020, with only one parent or guardian in attendance and maintaining social distancing at each practice. Youth sports games may commence on June 15, 2020. At all games, spectators should avoid being in a group larger than ten individuals and maintain social distancing.

The City of Marshall “New Declaration of Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency” dated May 19, 2020, the City of Marshall maintains the requirement for food establishments within the city limits to have all employees wear a face mask at all times. Separate employees must perform cash handling functions and food serving functions.

In providing or obtaining essential services or reopened services, individuals and businesses should follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus. As COVID-19 positive tests continue to rise, residents should implement social distancing, use recommended hand sanitizing, and maintain environmental cleanliness. Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings.

The City of Marshall will perform inspections to verify the proper implementation of all policies and procedures. Failure to comply with any of the mandated provisions of this Order constitutes an imminent threat to public health. Per Texas Government Code §418.173, a person who knowingly or intentionally violates this Order commits an offense punishable by a fine up to $1,000.00. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense.

Best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include:

  1. Restrict physical contact and publicly used areas.
  2. Maintain Social Distancing with a safe distance of six (6’) feet between all individuals.
  3. Every person shall avoid large gatherings.
  4. Residents shall not visit nursing homes, retirement, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  5. Regularly wash hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  7. If soap is not available, use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  8. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. All persons should remain in the house if one person in the home exhibits symptoms.

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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/18/2020

May 18, 2020

MOBILE TESTING WAS AVAILABLE SATURDAY IN MARSHALL-I WILL TRY AND POST TIMES AND DATES FOR FUTURE TESTING. IT TOOK 10 MINUTES AND WAS PAINLESS.

May 15, 2020 Judge Sims: – Today I’m sorry to report both a rise in cases and fatalities. Our cumulative total case count climbed by 6 to 207 cases. Additionally, we’ve had 3 more fatalities bringing our total to 14. Please remember these families in your prayers, not just today but for the next several days.

This virus is not going away so we must learn how to live with it. Please make every effort to protect yourself and those around you.

 

Harrison County Judge
May 16 at 4:01 PM ·
May 16, 2020 – Good news / Terrible news – We have no new positive cases to report today but we do have one new fatality. Our current totals are: 207 cases, 15 fatalities, 30 recoveries leaving 162 active cases.

Let’s get our numbers to go down by adding to our recoveries and stopping the spread. In your prayer time, please remember these affected families as well as the medical staff and nursing home staff who are on the front lines of this.

 

Harrison County Judge
18 hrs ·
May 17, 2020 – Today we have 2 new positive cases to report in Harrison County. This brings out total to count to 209.

 
 

By Smriti Mallapaty, Nature magazine on May 15, 2020

JH: This is a short, simple, important article for pet owners. “…

Dog owners who test positive for the coronavirus should be cautious when handling their pets…” Cats too.

 
 
 
10-4: How to Reopen the Economy by Exploiting the Coronavirus’s Weak Spot—some of you have seen this one, but it might make some sense. I don’t see how it would help parents and grandparents of schoolchildren since the kids could still transmit the virus to them. 
 
Local entrepreneur Alan Loudermilk continues to develop and market his simplified, self-administered test that uses saliva and not nasal swabs or blood. From the MNM!Harrison County Judge

18 hrs ·
May 17, 2020 – Today we have 2 new positive cases to report in Harrison County. This brings out total to count to 209.

 

Harrison County Courthouse set to reopen to the public Monday according to the MNM.

Genesis Prime Care receives another federal grant to fight COVID-19.             ANOTHER GOOD MNM ARTICLE WE SHOULD ALL TRY AND SUPPORT OUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER, THE MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER, AS WELL  EAST TEXAS EXPOSED, OUR EXCELLENT LOCAL WEB SITE WHICH CARRIES LOCAL COVID NEWS AS WELL AS HAPPIER SUBJECTS.

Nearly 90 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Connecticut last week were nursing home patients

NURSING HOME CONSIDERATIONS IN TEXAS  Who supervises nursing homes in Texas and manages quality control, infection control, sanitation and the like? It’s not local.

TWO CHARTS WITH DATA BY EDMUND WOOD. THE FIRST SHOWS THE CASE RATE  WHERE HARRISON COUNTY IS WELL REPRESENTED. THE SECOND CHART SHOWS THE DEATH RATE WHICH IS VERY HIGH FOR HARRISON COUNTY AT PRESENT, LARGELY DUE, I WOULD GUESS, TO NURSING HOME DEATHS. THE DEATH RATE WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY GO DOWN. I HOPE THE CASE RATE DOES AS WELL. Thank you, Edmund Wood for the information.

 
 

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Marshall Small Business Revolving Loans Tackle COVID-19

[Marshall, Texas, May 14, 2020]

Marshall Small Business Revolving Loans Tackle COVID-19

[Marshall, Texas] To assist businesses that are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and helping companies to grow, the City of Marshall has allocated a portion of the funds from the CARES Act to create a small business revolving loan program.   The initiative of supporting a small business loan program is a goal that came out of the citizen-driven Mobilize Marshall plan. These efforts to assist new businesses and encourage existing businesses to grow would promote the creation of a “Cradle of Entrepreneurship” program within the City.

The City of Marshall Small Business Revolving Loan Fund is designed to assist small and emerging businesses with projected gross revenue of less than $1 million and employ 50 or fewer employees.  Companies must be located within the city limit of Marshall to apply.

Approved loans will not exceed the available funding in the revolving loan fund account and not exceed $10,000 or 75% of the total project cost, whichever is less. Approval for a small business revolving loan focuses on the character, credit, and reliability of the borrower. No predetermined percentage of equity will be required, nor is adequate collateral a determining factor, but loans will be secured by collateral when possible.

Eligible Loan Purposes:

•             Acquisition and development or improvement of land, easements, and rights-of-way.   Overhead expenses such as certifications, licenses, advertising, incorporation, insurance, etc.

•             Rent and utilities.

•             Training, technical assistance, business services (such as web site development, etc.) to increase the capacity of recipients to carry out or broaden services.

•             Labor expenses (excluding owner), business inventory and supplies.

•             Capital or equipment purchases necessary for the business operation.

The source of funding for the Small Business Revolving Loan Program is provided primarily through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Block Development Grant and through funds awarded to the City by a U.S. Department of Agricultural Rural Business Enterprise Grant.

The loan application process will begin with a pre-application consultation with City Staff and a completed application with supporting documentation. For more information on application, please contact Morrison.wes@marshalltexas.net.

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/8/2020

May 8, 2020

Harrison County Judge
May 7, 2020 – Below is an update from the Marshall-Harrison County Health District on testing.
Today we have 8 new cases of the coronavirus and one fatality to report in Harrison County. Our total count is now at 172. Removing the 9 fatalities and 18 recoveries leaves us with 145 active cases.
State deploys team to provide aid at Marshall Manor WestMentioned yesterday, but I have been told that there is a difference between Marshall Manor West and the original Marshall Manor. I apologize for the confusion. The west structure is the former site of the second home of the family of a prominent Marshall lawyer, Clayton Feild. His first house was at the site of the current Marshall Manor, off South Washington. The old house was in a beautiful swale which was destroyed when the nursing home was built, forty or fifty years ago. JH.

From the Tyler Paper: Smith County has 170 coronavirus cases as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District. Cases are up by five from Wednesday. In Smith County, there are 71 active cases, 95 recovered patients and four coronavirus deaths. Tyler hospitals are currently treating 43 East Texas COVID-19 patients.
Smith County Sheriff’s Office: 16 North Jail employees, 8 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus.
LSU Health Shreveport becomes site for additional nitric oxide clinical trial
LSU Health Shreveport is now one of five sites in the world and the first in Louisiana involved in a clinical trial that assesses inhaled nitric oxide as a treatment for patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
To date, there are no targeted therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 and there are no proven interventions to prevent progression of the disease.
This clinical trial in particular will monitor patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 to see how they respond to inhaled nitric oxide as a treatment. Preventing disease progression in spontaneously breathing patients with mild to moderate disease could help to reduce the number of severe cases and deaths, which in turn lessens demand on healthcare resources such a critical care physicians and nurses.

Researchers hypothesize that a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading, but other experts remain skepticalResearchers hypothesize that a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading, but other experts remain skeptical
A research paper from scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, not yet peer-reviewed, reports that one strain of the novel coronavirus has emerged in Europe and become dominant around the planet, leading the researchers to believe the virus has mutated to become more contagious.
The bold hypothesis, however, was immediately met with skepticism by many infectious-disease experts, and there is no scientific consensus that any of the innumerable mutations in the virus so far have changed the general contagiousness or lethality of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The Los Alamos scientists, led by computational biologist Bette Korber and working in conjunction with researchers at Duke University and the University of Sheffield in England, examined a global database of strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease. According to their analysis, one strain featuring a mutation dubbed Spike D614G quickly out-competed other strains after it appeared in Europe.
The mutation affects the structure of a protein, called the spike protein, that is critical to the virus’s ability to infect human cells. The researchers believe this structural change enhances infectivity.
“The mutation Spike D614G is of urgent concern; it began spreading in Europe in early February, and when introduced to new regions it rapidly becomes the dominant form,” the authors write. They describe the mutation “increasing in frequency at an alarming rate, indicating a fitness advantage relative to the original Wuhan strain that enables more rapid spread.”
The paper will now have to survive the intense scrutiny of a research community trying to deliver urgently needed information while remaining scientifically rigorous.

Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19
FROM JAMA: THIS IS A GOOD ARTICLE TO KEEP FOR YOUR FILES TO REREAD WHEN TESTING BECOMES MORE COMMON.Interpreting Diagnostic Tests for SARS-CoV-2

New Studies Add to Evidence that Children May Transmit the CoronavirusNew Studies Add to Evidence that Children May Transmit the Coronavirus
“…In one study, published last week in the journal Science, a team analyzed data from two cities in China — Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, and Shanghai — and found that children were about a third as susceptible to coronavirus infection as adults were. But when schools were open, they found, children had about three times as many contacts as adults, and three times as many opportunities to become infected, essentially evening out their risk.
“Based on their data, the researchers estimated that closing schools is not enough on its own to stop an outbreak, but it can reduce the surge by about 40 to 60 percent and slow the epidemic’s course.
“’My simulation shows that yes, if you reopen the schools, you’ll see a big increase in the reproduction number, which is exactly what you don’t want,” said Marco Ajelli, a mathematical epidemiologist who did the work while at the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trento, Italy.’”

Personal comment, J Harris, MD:
Without testing, good testing, who knows where we are in terms of susceptibility in this pandemic.  Nobody. Covid-19 has cleaned out the easy targets like overcrowded nursing homes, prisons, airplanes, flophouses, subways, packing houses, cruise ships, chicken pluckers, and health care workers. Now the hellacious virus can surreptitiously spread to more abundant if more challenging targets such as ordinary if naive people, who are willing to gamble with their lives and with the lives of everyone with whom they come into contact, especially with the elderly, with grandma and grandpa.

And a likely day for the virus to score new victims will be Mother’s Day.  

Fortunately, most older people are retired and don’t have to “meet the public.” Of course, they should be cautious, wear masks, avoid crowds, As for me, I believe I’ll continue to stay home and wait for good tests, case tracking capabilities, effective antiviral drugs, and an effective vaccine — hopefully a long-lasting vaccine. I will continue to assume that everyone I meet is a carrier, including family members and friends who must go to work. I’m not particularly afraid of dying, but I’d rather my terminal breath not be on a noisy ventilator while gasping and coughing and spewing a froth of infected sputum all over ICU. Like most old folks, I’d rather just wake up some morning dead. 

Oak Lawn Golf Course Gearing Up for Tee Time

[Marshall, Texas, May 7, 2020]

[Marshall, Texas] The City of Marshall announces the opening of Oak Lawn Municipal Golf Course on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Oak Lawn is a 9-hole course that is owned by the City of Marshall located at 4307 Victory Drive in Marshall. This opening date will allow staff to prepare the course for competitive play.

In order to protect the health of each player and the staff, there are stipulations that must be followed in order to use the facilities at Oak Lawn Municipal Golf Course.

•             Oak Lawn will be closed on Mondays and open all other normal business hours.

•             The only access to the clubhouse will be to pay fees. No socializing with other players inside the clubhouse.

•             Players must maintain social distancing suggested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of 6’ between individuals not in the same immediate family.

•             Only one person is allowed per cart. Two individuals are allowed to utilize the same cart if they are in the same immediate family.

On the course, the City of Marshall requests everyone to follow the CDC guidelines to keep you and those around you safe, and to minimize any possible exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). At Oak Lawn, workers urge our golfers to heighten their awareness on exposure to surfaces like flagsticks, golf balls, bunker rakes, tees, carts and scorecards. We all need to do our part to respect expert advice and make the right decisions to protect each other.

If you have any questions, please contact Stormy Nickerson at (903) 934-7995. Upon opening, please contact Oak Lawn Municipal Golf Course at (903) 935-7555.

CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 5/6/2020

May 6, 2020


Harrison County Judge
 Sims:

May 5, 2020 – Today we have an additional 11 cases to report bringing our Harrison County total to 157. No additional recoveries or fatalities to report at this time.

The state has contacted us and scheduled another round of testing this Friday, May 8th from 9am-5pm. You may pre-register on Thursday, 7th. See the phone or website info on the flyer.

Today Governor Abbott announced that Beauty Salons, Barber Shops, Nail Salons & Tanning Facilities may reopen this Friday, May 8th. These businesses are not required to reopen and may remain closed if they desire. The Governor said that details about reopening would be made available on his website. He also stated that they are planning to allow gyms to reopen on May 18th with more details on his website also.

Our daily positive case count continues to rise, so please don’t take the above information as an ‘all clear’ sign. As more businesses reopen, I urge each of you to continue to wear a mask for your protection and those around you. Those who have health issues and are vulnerable should stay home. Let’s all do our part and remember to WASH YOUR HANDS.

Rural America’s digital dIvide

Face it: This is a good time to make a will

(Previously mentioned)

Local company invents oral COVID-19 test to meet demand

·       Robin Y. Richardson ryrichardson@marshallnewsmessenger.com (I’m not sure this came through yesterday. JH)

 With the discomfort and sometimes pain that come along with nasal swabs, the demand for a less stressful coronavirus testing solution has been high. Thus, a local Marshall company, “mLife Diagnostics LLC”, has answered the call, inventing an oral COVID-19 test kit that’s designed to not only be more manageable, but also more safe.

“We hope eventually it would be available for at-home, but initially it’s available through doctors in our lab,” said Alan R. Loudermilk, CEO of mLife Diagnostics. “But it’s designed to be easy to use — so easy that we do not have to have healthcare professionals such as doctors or nurses to administer it.”

Loudermilk said he was initially working on a drug testing product called “mLife Verified” when the need for a coronavirus testing kit came his way instead.

“About two-and-half years ago, we got involved in a medical startup and were making a drug test where we took a prototype and created this product called the mLife Verified,” he said, noting it’s a drug test that calls for the instant detection of drugs through an oral swab process that’s sent to a laboratory.

“We launched it early March of this year, and then the coronavirus hit,” said Loudermilk. “So, the customer said we’re not interested in drug tests anymore.”

More interested in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Loudermilk then came up with the idea of his new invention, the “mLife DX True” oral fluid/viral collection kit.

“I came up with this idea about six weeks ago,” the inventor and local business owner said. “In 30 days we went from concept to production.

“We came up with the idea sitting right here,” he said of his 511 N. Washington Ave. location, “and then 30 days later, we were in production.”

Loudermilk said the concept is similar to his drug testing kit, which is the collection of oral specimen to be tested. The concept is also to optimize the workflow for COVID-19.

“We’re in production,” said Loudermilk. “It’s available if a doctor prescribes it through the lab. We’re not available for at-home yet, because that requires that extra FDA approval.”

“But we have two, what is called CAP CLIA labs that are certified, that have validated the use of our instrument to detect the coronavirus,” said Loudermilk.

Being CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) certified and CAP (College of American Pathologists) accredited guarantee that test results are meeting industry standards for clinical laboratory testing.

“So under their rules if a doctor says run the specimen and test it at the labs, those labs will run the result,” said Loudermilk.

HOW IT WORKS

The test depends on an oral swab that has to be thoroughly saturated with saliva. A solid red rectangle indicator bar on the swab will indicate that the swab is thoroughly saturated.

The kit then instructs to firmly grip the mLife True collector tube in one hand with the bottom of the tube positioned on a firm surface. The saliva swab is then inserted into the vial to be sent to the labs.

And because the aim is to optimize the workflow for corona, Loudermilk said his company created a buffer for the kit.

“The first thing we did was we came up with this design, and then we also came up with a buffer, working with a partner that deactivates the virus,” the CEO said. “So, you have to assume everybody that you test is corona positive, so we assume that’s the case and we collect the specimen and deposit it in this vial. It has a viral deactivation, RNA preservation agent; so it kills the virus, but preserves its RNA, so that we can detect it.”

The sample is placed inside of a specimen bag, and triple bagged for further security.

“You put a label on the vial, put it in triple bags for safety, but the moment you drop it in this buffer, within 30 seconds to one minute, all of the virus is killed,” explained Loudermilk. “It’s deactivated. So the specimen itself, it kills the virus, it kills the bacteria, so this is now a safe sample.”

Another important thing, he said, is that the sample can withstand weeks of ambient, warm temperature.

“We ship this to the lab, so this specimen needs to stay stable for a period of time, so you can ship it to the lab; and so we have data on the buffer that shows that this will stay stable for several weeks,” said Loudermilk. “It can be sent to the lab, the lab receives it and does the test and they post your results either via a secure portal or a secure email link that complies with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Loudermilk said test results have been proven to return in less than 24 hours.

“We had a usability test on (last) Friday. The participants in that study took the test at 4 p.m.; and within less than 24 hours later they had their results,” he said.

REASON FOR DEMAND

Loudermilk said he believes the demand for an oral swab is high because of the presumed comfort and safety it presents compared to a nasal swab.

“Nasal swabs are very painful, and they require a medical professional to administer it,” he said. “Actually, administering it particularly to people that are symptomatic, even if they’re not, you may get a cough or they may breathe on you. You’ve gotta be right up (on the patient).

“There’s no social distancing in administering the nasal swab,” Loudermilk continued. “The healthcare worker has to put on this expensive PPE (personal protective equipment), (and) they’re still exposed.”

In addition to being safer, oral swabs are also considered just as accurate, he said.

“We think that saliva has been proven to be just as accurate or more accurate and it can be administered and put no one at risk,” said Loudermilk. “So this can be self-administered or can be under supervision of a doctor.”

A great thing is it still allows for social distancing, he noted.

“I can be a doctor, my patient can be 10-feet away and guide them,” Loudermilk explained. Thus, “there’s no need to put our healthcare workers at risk for a nasal swab, when this is just as accurate.”

The kit comes along with an instructional video and instructions for users.

“And the virus is deactivated, so it’s safer handling on the shipment there,” said Loudermilk.

“So our view is simple — Saliva is better, it’s just as accurate and no one gets put at risk to take the sample,” said Loudermilk. “And I can do it in a doctor’s office or I can do it in a work setting or down; or down the road if the FDA approves it, I can do it at home. So that’s what we would like to see happen.”

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

News of the Marshall-made invention has already drawn the attention of interested parties across the world.

“We’ve been contacted in the Middle East, South America, (and) Asia about this product already, so the word has spread pretty fast,” said Loudermilk, sharing they’ve also visited with the Texas Secretary of State.

“Our hope is that we can get local labs, and local government agencies and companies to work with us to help people get back to work. And let’s get testing,” he said. “If you need to test somebody, let’s not put our healthcare workers at risk. Let’s do this instead of a nasal swab.”

The next hurdle mLife Diagnostics has to reach now is proving to the FDA that the oral tests are just as good as or better than the nasal ones.

“That’s what the FDA wants us to prove,” said Loudermilk. Thus, “we have to find 60 willing participants who will do the nasal swab — 30 positive (COVID-19 people), 30 negative — and then we will also do our oral swab with them (and compare the accuracy).”

The inventor said they are proud to have designed their oral product in the USA.

“US sourcing is important because we can control it. We do it here. We’re not waiting for something to come in from some faraway place. We control our own production here in the United States — — Marshall invented and US made.”

Shreveport: Caddo Parish increased by only 10 new cases from 1,629 on Monday to 1,639 on Tuesday, according to the Louisiana Department of Health

Caddo Parish’s COVID-19 death reached 134 as of Monday evening, the Caddo Parish Coroner’s office reports. The first Caddo Parish coronavirus death occurred March 24.

Bossier Parish had no increase in new cases and remains the same at 300 reported cases from Monday to Tuesday. Bossier also remains at 17 deaths related to the virus

EARLY SARS-CoV-2 CIRCULATION IN FRANCE A story published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents suggests that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in France in December 2019, a month before the country’s first reported case. The study analyzed retained samples from patients with influenza-like illness from early December 2019 to mid-January 2020 with negative PCR tests for other respiratory infections, including influenza. The researchers conducted RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 on specimens from 14 patients that matched their criteria, and 1 specimen returned a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. The patient’s clinical presentation and radiological patterns were consistent with those reported in early COVID-19 patients in China and Italy. Notably, the patient’s medical history included no travel or other direct links to China, which suggests that community transmission may have occurred earlier than previously thought.

New Mexico Invokes Riot Law to Control Virus Near Navajo Nation (New York Times) All the roads into this city on the edge of the Navajo Nation are closed. The soldiers at the checkpoints have their orders: Outsiders must turn around and drive away. Cities across the country have closed down businesses and ordered residents to remain at home, but the threat of the coronavirus in Gallup became so serious last week that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to lock down the entire city. The downtown of shops, bars and Indian trading posts is now nearly deserted.


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THREE C’S

By George Smith

Three C’s that drive the Trump administration’s policies and agenda:

Consternation.

Chaos.

Cray-cray.

The president, the Exalted Whim Master, creates chaos for his staff, party and the nation with his serial dishonesty, constant mental meddling in medical matters and his belief that the world’s richest country can be run like a reality television show. His erratic actions have angered long-time allies around the world and have caused more in-White House turnover of key staff members than pancakes at a Waffle House.

Those that blindly follow this mental-breakdown-waiting-to-happen will, at some level (if they are attached to reality at any level) will have a WHOA! moment, a blast of clarity when they realize the man they once believed was ordained by God to be president is, in fact, on the downhill side of cray-cray.

The diagnosis is in … Trump is a sociopath with delusions of grandeur, a man devoid of normal human emotions. Unable to show empathy, he has, in his words and actions, placed dollar signs and stock market numbers ahead of human life.

Those that believe COVID19 is a hoax or akin to the regular flu and that the president is the best person to deal with the pandemic are delusional fools 

If almost four years under the switcheroo policies of this president and his cast of boot-licking lackeys has not taught citizens that ABT (Anybody But Trump) has to be the choice in the 2020 general election, there is no hope to salvage their mental stability.

There is nothing the president can do to salvage his reputation as the worst president in the country’s history.

Those who voted for him in 2016 still have an opportunity to “come to the light”, so to speak, and right a historical General Election mistake by choosing a reasonable choice for president in November rather that the political equivalent of the “Seed of Chucky”.

In your heart, you know it’s time. Past time, even.


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Marshall and Harrison County Heighten COVID-19 Response

[Marshall, Texas, April 24, 2020]

The City of Marshall and Harrison County have remained on alert to safeguard the health of our community members as we face the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic together. To that end, the Marshall Police Officers, Health Inspector, and Fire Marshal have been on inspections to verify compliance with the Amended Declarations of Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency Due to a Communicable Disease. While it is their goal to ensure that everyone remains peaceful and follows the orders, the Marshall Police Department has made numerous warnings and three arrests due to significant violations. The Fire Marshal has also issued multiple warnings and closed nonessential businesses who failed to agree to close.

The City of Marshall and Harrison County asks all residents and businesses to follow the CDC, Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders, and Local Declarations of Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency Due to a Communicable Disease. Your health, the safety of your family, and the stability of our economy are our highest concerns. As your local government leaders, we cannot accomplish these goals without your immediate compliance. The Marshall Police Department, Harrison County Sherriff’s Department, the Health Inspector, and the Fire Marshal will continue inspections with warnings, fines and jail time if orders are not followed.

At the request of the Emergency Management Team, the City of Marshall and Harrison County request all businesses in Harrison County implement the following two guidelines. First, businesses should assign a safety monitor at the entrance to maintain social distance, to ensure that best-hygiene practices are in place and to limit the number of shoppers entering the store. Second, businesses should limit occupancy within their stores to 5 persons per 1000 square feet, with a maximum of 450 people. This maximum number of shoppers shall be posted on the front door.

The City of Marshall and Harrison County have seen a significant increase in positive COVID-19 tests in recent days. Therefore, The City of Marshall and Harrison County will work together to increase enforcement.

Third Amended Declarations of Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency Due to a Communicable Disease

The new local orders stipulate that retail establishments will be able to operate as “Retail-to-Go” as delineated in the Texas Governor’s Executive Order GA-16, effective April 24, 2020. “Retail-to-Go” was defined by Governor Abbott as a safe, strategic reopening of select services and activities in Texas. This order establishes a temporary “Retail-To-Go” model that will allow select retail outlets in Texas to reopen beginning Friday, April 24. Under this model, reopened establishments are required to deliver items to customer’s cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact. Customer admittance in the store will not be allowed under this provision.

In addition, the new local orders will require every Harrison County food establishment to have all employees wear a face mask at all times. In transactions with customers, cash handling functions and food serving functions are also required to be handled by separate employees.

Citizens are urged to follow following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) national guidelines, Executive Orders by Governor Greg Abbott and the Local Amended Declaration Local Disaster and Public Health Emergency Related to Communicable Disease.

1.            Restrict physical contact and publicly used areas.

2.            Maintain Social Distancing with a safe distance of six (6’) feet between individuals.

3.            Every person in Texas shall avoid social gatherings in groups of 10 or more per Executive Order of Governor Abbott.

4.            Residents should not visit nursing homes, retirement, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.

5.            Per the CDC, people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors. Residents may still utilize drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options through the Executive Order.

6.            Regularly wash hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

7.            Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

8.            If soap is not available, use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

9.            Avoid close contact with people who are sick. All persons should remain in the home if one person in the house exhibits symptoms.

10.          Only one adult should conduct essential errands from the household. Other family members should remain sheltered at home.

11.          CDC recommends wearing a cloth face mask in public. The mask will fit snugly, be secured with ear loops, and be able to be laundered and machine dried often. A mask should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or unable to remove the mask without assistance. A mask with multiple layers of fabric should allow for breathing without restriction. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators as those critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.


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CORONAVIRUS INFO PROVIDED BY DR. JIM HARRIS – 4/24/2020

April 24, 2020

Frist, for a bit of FUN, enjoy this U Tube video sent in by Gerald Watson, formerly of Marshall:

National Guard to deploy to Harrison County Saturday for mobile COVID-19 testing

To be eligible for testing, citizens must have one or more symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms include:

Fever and/or chills

Cough (dry or productive)

Fatigue body aches/muscle or joint pain

Shortness of breath

Sore Throat

Headaches nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

Nasal congestion

Loss of taste and/or smell

MESSAGE YESTERDAY FOR JUDGE SIMS:

April 23, 2020 – Lots of information today. 3 new COVID-19 cases and 1 new fatality reported today bringing the Harrison County total to 63 total cases and 7 deaths.

Recoveries: The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has reported to us today that we have 6 recovered cases in Harrison County.

Willoughby Juvenile Center: We did have a staff member test positive at the juvenile center. This staff person had followed the hygiene guidelines and after testing all youth and staff at the center, we’ve had no other positive case. There are just a few more results from the facility that we are waiting on but so far we’ve been pleased with the testing and the proactive efforts by our staff member.

Harrison County Jail – We were notified today that one inmate has tested positive for the virus. The Sheriff’s Office is working on getting testing done for inmates and staff as well as taking all necessary precautions to prevent further spread.
Case Summary: 63 total cases less the 7 deaths and 6 recoveries leaves us with 50 active cases.

I spoke with a doctor today about the protection offered by a face mask. If an infected person wears the mask, your risk of catching the virus goes down to 5%. If both of you wear a mask, that risk goes down even farther to 1.5%.

Please wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, wash your hands and if you don’t have to be out… stay home.

It appears that in the counties to the west of Harrison County that fewer new cases are being seen since April 20. Someday, extensive testing data will be of benefit as well, including testing of folks without any symptoms or known contacts.

MORE THAN 50 NEW COVID-19 CASES REPORTED IN CADDO PARISH

HAS THE CURVE FLATTENED? (World wide)

LOOK UP INFLUENZA-LIKE ILLNESS NEAR YOU:

(Harrison County has cooled off!)

WHY A MAYO CLINIC EXPERT HAS CONCERNS ABOUT SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19

(I added this article so that folks don’t think that just the doctors on TV are worried about C-19 and influenza overlapping in the fall).Attachments areaPreview YouTube video Covid Rules Cleared UpCovid Rules Cleared Up


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