As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the world conditions in Scott County have continued to hold level for the last several weeks with very few new positive cases of the virus and no deaths. Statewide the number of positive cases of coronavirus, this week, had dropped below 300 for two days in a row and on Tuesday, for the first time in months, the state reported zero deaths.
At the same time, local schools are preparing for students to return to the classroom in full force and Friday night football is underway in a sign of life slowly returning to normal.
In addition, bridge repair began late last month on the Highway 80 overpass in Forest and the Highway 35 overpass repair work may begin again in this week after having been postponed due to the pandemic. The right hand lane of the Highway 35 bridge has been closed since February 2019.
The bridge repair project on State Route 35 over Kansas City Southern Railroad was let to Gibson and Associates, Inc., for a contract amount of approximately $855,000 in February of this year and work began on it in early summer but was halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The project consists, in part, of abrasive blasting, repairing and painting the super structure, which is complete.
Michael Flood, a Mississippi Department of Transportation spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that work could resume on the Highway 35 overpass in days.
“The project has been delayed due to COVID-19, but I’m told the contractor plans to move in tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 9) to begin the structural repairs required to take down the lane closure,” Flood said. “The amount of time it takes to complete the repairs is dependent on the number of welders the contractor brings onto the project. For instance, using one welder would take approximately six weeks to complete the repairs.”
As for Highway 80, Flood said previously that during the overlay project performed last year, it was discovered that the northwest corner of the bridge approach had washed. “It was decided during the project to omit that section and repair it with other forces.” he said.
He added that District 5 maintenance crews will repair the failed slope, stabilize the area and make modifications to the current drainage pattern.
As of Tuesday’s report from the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi was reporting 249 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths. The statewide total of positive cases reported since the outbreak began in early March now stands at 87,379 with 2,585 deaths.
In Scott County there have been 1,125 positive cases of the virus reported since March and 22 deaths. That is an increase of 26 cases since the same time last week and no new deaths.
As of August 28, the most current reporting period on schools in Scott County, there were two teachers/staff members in quarantine and 44 students. Since the start of school there have been of 12 teachers/staff members reporting positive cases of the virus and seven students. The health department only provides county wide statistics for schools and does not specify individual schools.
Mississippi remains under a statewide mask mandate issued by Governor Tate Reeves until September 14. The mandate, which requires face coverings, while in public was put into place the first week of August and has been renewed every two weeks since then.