Health officials have confirmed Mississippi’s first coronavirus-related death.
According to the State Department of Health, the Hancock County man was between the ages of 60-65 and suffered from “chronic underlying conditions”. He died in a Louisiana hospital.
“I am extremely saddened to report this death. My heart goes out to this gentleman’s wife and family. While we knew it was a strong possibility that we would soon have a COVID-19 death, it doesn’t make it any easier to handle,” said MSDH State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH. “Many people will survive this virus with mild to severe symptoms, but we remain very concerned for those over 65 and immunocompromised populations – those most at risk to infection from this virus.”
Governor Tate Reeves expressed his condolences for the man and his family.
“As the coronavirus outbreak began claiming lives across the world, we knew this would eventually hit Mississippi. But that doesn’t make it any easier for Mississippi to lose one of our own. Elee and I are praying for all their loved ones and their community as we all deal with this tragic loss,” Governor Reeves said.
As of Thursday afternoon, the MSDH is reporting 50 cases of the virus and 602 Mississippians have been tested.
Dr. Dobbs stressed that, as the virus spreads rapidly, prevention has never been more important.
Preventive measures Mississippians can take include the following:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing, blowing your nose, and using the bathroom. Effective handwashing takes about 20 seconds, and includes cleaning under fingernails, between fingers, and washing the back of hands as well as the front.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. When possible, cough, sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue, and throw the tissue away.
- If you are sick, especially with shortness of breath, severe cough, fever or severe chest pain, call a doctor or healthcare provider for instructions on being safely examined.
- Avoid social gatherings where 10 people or more would come into close contact.
- Practice social distancing.