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Coronavirus patient flew into Gulfport airport; Doctors stress fellow passengers never at risk

Traveling can be challenging for children with autism. But an upcoming, free event at the...
Traveling can be challenging for children with autism. But an upcoming, free event at the Gulfport Biloxi International Airport is giving these kids a chance to practice going through the steps of flying.
Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 6:25 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - We’re learning more about the days before Mississippi’s first coronavirus patient started feeling sick. Health officials with Forrest General Hospital said on Thursday that the 49-year-old man recently flew to Miami for a music festival, making stops in Atlanta and Gulfport Biloxi International Airport on his way back last weekend.

The doctors stressed that shouldn’t cause any panic for travelers because the patient was not showing any symptoms of illness during his travels.

The doctors said the patient started feeling sick after returning home from his weekend getaway. His first symptom was a 103 degree fever. That prompted him to go to one of Forrest General’s clinics.

Health officials say a high fever is one of the three symptoms they look for before testing for coronavirus, the other two being shortness of breath and a cough.

Leaders at the Gulfport airport want to assure travelers their janitorial crew has been scrubbing down every inch of the airport, including elevators, baggage claim, the gates, and it's business as usual. As always, hand sanitizing dispensers are located throughout the terminal for passengers and employees to use. Restroom handwashing stations are also located throughout the terminal both before and after security.

Passengers are encouraged to follow the CDC’s guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Those guidelines include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

“Encourage those that are travelling that take necessary precautions such as covering your mouth when you cough or you sneeze, washing your hands more frequently, and if you are sick, go take some precautions by seeing a doctor prior to deciding whether you are going to travel or not,” Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Director Clay Williams said.

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