While Stores Prepare for the Holidays, UMMC Prepares for Ebola | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

While Stores Prepare for the Holidays, UMMC Prepares for Ebola

With the holiday season approaching, the Outlets of Mississippi and Northpark Mall are both preparing a number of events to celebrate the season.

With the holiday season approaching, the Outlets of Mississippi and Northpark Mall are both preparing a number of events to celebrate the season. Photo by Trip Burns.

With the holiday season approaching, the Outlets of Mississippi (200 Bass Pro Drive, Pearl) is preparing a number of events to celebrate the season beginning this weekend.

On Saturday, Nov. 22, parents can bring their children to have holiday cookies with Santa in the outlet mall's courtyard outside the food court beginning at 1 p.m. Later, the Outlets, in conjunction with Make-a-Wish Mississippi, will host the Seasons of Wishes Tree Lighting Ceremony. The event begins at 5 p.m. and will feature holiday music and snacks. Santa will choose one kid to help him light the tree and kick off the holiday season.

Make-a-Wish Mississippi representatives will be in the food court Nov. 22 through Dec. 24 selling ornaments for shoppers to take home or hang on the outlet center's tree, as well as offering holiday gift-wrapping services.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, the Outlets will open its doors at 10 p.m. for its second annual Moonlight Madness Opening. In addition to savings of up to 65 percent off regular retail prices, the Outlets will offer best-of-season sales and limited-time discounts. In addition, the first 300 customers at Visitor Services will receive a Swag Bag filled with gifts and a surprise gift card valued up to $250.

During Moonlight Madness, the Outlets will begin collecting entries for its Beat the Winter Blues holiday raffle. One shopper will win a four-day/three-night stay at Turquoise Palace in Orange, Ala., or The Beach Club in Gulf Shores, Ala. The winner will also receive a $500 Outlets of Mississippi shopping spree. Entries will be accepted at Guest Services in Suite 535 through close of business on Christmas Eve Wednesday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. The drawing takes place Dec. 26, and the winner will be notified by mail.

Visit www.outletsofms.com or call 769-972-3000 for store sale information and extended holiday shopping hours.

Northpark Mall Announces Holiday Hours

Northpark Mall has announced its extended holiday season hours. Northpark Mall will be open from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day Thursday, Nov. 27, through 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 28. The mall will re-open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, Nov. 28, and will close at 10 p.m. that evening.

Leading up to Christmas, Northpark Mall will open Wednesday, Dec. 24, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The mall will be closed on Christmas Day and will reopen Dec. 26 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Northpark Mall is planning a number of holiday events throughout December, including visits with Santa for children, a pet photo night and a contest for a $10,000 shopping spree. Visit Northpark Mall's website for details.

Simon, the owners of Northpark Mall, have collaborated with Vogue Advertising to produce the "Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide," curated by Vogue's market stylist, Cara Crowley. Crowley has selected her favorite holiday products from retail brands available at Simon Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills. Previews of these gift guides will be available as an insert in the December issue of Vogue, with the full print version available at Northpark Mall during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. A digital version of the full gift guide will also be available at simon.com/holidaygiftguide.

Northpark Mall will also be a host for the Salvation Army's annual Angel Tree program. The Angel Tree program allows participants to donate toys and other gift items to provide Christmas presents to children ages 12 and under and senior adults 60 and up in Hinds, Rankin, Copiah and Madison counties. For information on Angel Tree in the Jackson Metro Area, visit the Salvation Army's website or call 601-982-4881.

UMMC Prepares Ebola Isolation and Treatment Unit

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is retrofitting a decommissioned patient-care building on the hospital's campus as an isolation and treatment unit in the event of a confirmed or probable Ebola case in Mississippi.

UMMC officials announced that they are in the process of renovating space in the former University Rehabilitation Center, a stand-alone structure removed from other patient-care facilities on campus. URC closed in late October as part of a planned consolidation of inpatient rehabilitation services with Methodist Rehabilitation Center, also on the UMMC campus.

"The availability of this unit allows us to sequester the care of a patient away from our other patient-care activities and indeed to physically isolate the case from the rest of campus," Dr. James E. Keeton, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said in a release.

State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier emphasized that the chances of an actual case appearing in the state are still extremely low, but that developing a specialized unit where well-trained staff can safely care for a patient is crucial for the state to be fully prepared.

"As travelers from the countries with ongoing Ebola transmission are being monitored by public health, there is very little risk of a patient appearing here without the Mississippi State Department of Health already knowing about them," Currier said. "In the unlikely event we did have a confirmed or probable Ebola case, the patient would then be directed to UMMC for care. I do believe our state's academic medical center is uniquely positioned to take on that responsibility, and we are grateful."

Patients who have recently traveled to West Africa and who develop symptoms consistent with Ebola virus would be considered a probable case. At this time, the MSDH is not monitoring any travelers or health-care workers exposed to Ebola.

UMMC is adopting several rooms in the URC as a biocontainment unit that can accommodate up to two patients. The renovation will take two weeks, Jonathan Wilson, UMMC's chief administrative officer, said in the release.

"We judged that we could retrofit the facility to meet all the necessary requirements to, first and foremost, protect our clinical and support staff, and second, provide appropriate care to our patient," Wilson said. "URC has the advantage of being one of the few buildings on campus that is completely self-sufficient and physically isolated from every other building at UMMC."

UMMC has been intensively training a team that would be involved in the direct care of a patient, should there be one. Since providing care will be a round-the-clock activity, the Department of Health is asking other hospitals to identify experienced clinical volunteers who could augment UMMC's Ebola care team.

Keeton said in the release that the current preparations for Ebola will lay the groundwork for the development and maintenance of a permanent team of health-care workers specially trained to handle infectious disease outbreaks and other biological threats.

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