From the Mississippi State Department of Health on Friday, March 13.
Today, the Mississippi State Department of Health reports the second and third presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Mississippi. Final verification will come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One case is a Forrest County adult female over 65 who recently traveled to North Carolina. The patient has been hospitalized. The other case is a Forrest County adult male who recently traveled to Florida and has been self-isolating at home without hospitalization.
The first presumptive case was reported Wednesday night in an adult male from Forrest County.
“We are conducting further investigation to determine if and how these cases might be connected to the first presumptive case. At this point, that is not clear, but we are thoroughly exploring all possibilities,” said MSDH State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH.
Dobbs announced Thursday that MSDH is expanding access to COVID-19 testing that will allow physicians to submit specimens to the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory or commercial labs without prior consultation with MSDH. If individuals are worried about having COVID-19, they should call their healthcare provider.
Additionally, Dobbs said the MSDH is expanding recommendations for long-term care visitors and large social gatherings.
“We know that this virus is easily spread person to person, so we recommend limiting visitations and discontinuing any group social activities in long-term care facilities,” he said.
MSDH also recommends that individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 250 people and take precautions when they are in public. Communities and organizations should take the current coronavirus situation into account in planning or canceling events.
“Stay informed of the cases in your county and surrounding counties, and maintain social distancing as practical,” said Dobbs. “Our older population and chronically ill individuals, who are especially at risk, should protect themselves by avoiding gatherings of more than 250 people.”
There is no recommendation at this time that schools should close. Complete details of the updated information and guidance are available on the MSDH website.