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Coronavirus in Mississippi: Health Officials provide latest update

State health officials held a press conference earlier today to update the public after reporting Mississippi’s first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday. 

The outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, has reached the Magnolia State after an individual in Forrest County tested positive for the virus. During today’s press conference, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers and several elected officials provided the latest update on the situation and the newest set of recommendations based on its spread.

Dr. Dobbs, who is leading the state’s ‘Coronavirus Steering Committee’, mentioned that while more people will get sick, these steps are being taken to limit the spread of the virus. 

  • Dr. Dobbs announced the expansion of testing capabilities at healthcare facilities across the state and the elimination of a burdensome step that could slow down the testing process. 
  • As of now, the MSDH is not recommending that schools close down but they are continuing the monitor the situation. 
  • Officials are recommending that anyone over the age of 65 or those with underlying conditions avoid gatherings of more than 250 people.
  • In an effort to protect the at-risk population, long-term care facilities are being urged to restrict visitor access.
  • Effective immediately, the Mississippi Department of Corrections will suspend all visitation.
  • Visitors to the state capitol will be suspended, but Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann announced that the 2020 Legislative Session will continue.
  • If you feel sick, call your doctor and alert them to your symptoms so they can take the proper precautions to treat you.

The spread of the virus continues to have a far-reaching impact as sporting events continue to be canceled and all eight of the state’s public universities will shift to online courses after an extended Spring Break.

Officials stressed the ongoing recommendations of continuing to practice proper handwashing and hygiene, stay home when you are sick and cover your mouth when cough or sneeze. 

The individual in Forrest had recently traveled to Florida and was not hospitalized. He voluntarily isolated himself at home to prevent further transmission to others. 

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