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State Dept. of Health opens hotline in an aggressive response to the novel coronavirus



Countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 4, 2020. (map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Do you have questions about COVID-19, the novel coronavirus?

If so, the Mississippi State Department of Health has opened a hotline for the general public.

The COVID-19 hotline number is 1-877-978-6453 and is available from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

To date, no cases of the virus have been confirmed in Mississippi. The best way to prevent infection is to practice good viral hygiene, including washing your hands thoroughly and often with warm water and soap.

MSDH is aggressively responding to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, the agency states on its website. Along with other state agencies, it has activated emergency operations in order to prepare for possible person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in Mississippi.

Other steps that MSDH is taking include:

  • Increasing surveillance (monitoring) activities to identify cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible and to limit person-to-person transmission.
  • Working directly with hospitals and healthcare providers across the state to plan for possible cases of COVID-19, preparing them to identify and safely treat cases.
  • Assessing statewide hospital capacities, ensuring the capacity of the MSDH Public Health Laboratory for COVID-19 testing, and informing all Mississippi healthcare providers about procedures for identifying and testing for coronavirus cases.
  • Providing guidance to business, education and other entities on how to respond to the possible spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The number of cases in the U.S. continues to climb. As of Wednesday, 137 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and nine deaths. The U.S. deaths are clustered in Washington State with eight in the same county. Worldwide the number of cases has risen to more than 95,000 in 82 countries and 3,249 deaths.

“Panic and hysteria are not appropriate,” said Bruce Aylward with the World Health Organization in an interview with Vox. “This is a disease that is in the cases and their close contacts. It’s not a hidden enemy lurking behind bushes. Get organized, get educated and get working.”

For more information, visit the MSDH website, the CDC website and the WHO website. Also, see our previous stories on the virus.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

Vicksburg Daily News