Miss. agencies taking precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said, “This is about protecting vulnerable people who live in Mississippi.”
Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 2:25 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi State Department of Health held a press conference Thursday regarding a major update on COVID-19.

During the press conference, officials discussed the first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus that was reported in Mississippi.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that it doesn’t seem that children are affected and that most of the illnesses are mild. Less than 1% die from the virus.

Dr. Dobbs also said that a vaccine is in development.

[RELATED: Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know]

The City of Jackson also held a press conference Thursday to discuss their response to the coronavirus.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced the creation of the City of Jackson COVID-19 Task Force.

It consists of Merit Health hospital, Dr. Timothy Quinn, Jackson State University’s College of Health Sciences, Jackson Public School’s Superintendent Dr. Erik Greene. The city will also be in constant contact with the Mississippi State Department of Health as well as the State Epidemiologist and other public health professionals.

The task force will meet on Tuesday for an update on preparations.

Testing material is at the Mississippi State Department of Health.

To obtain testing, a physician needs to submit and they get results back in 36 hours typically. Testing is also available through commercial labs.

The Department of Health is expanding access and making it easier for physicians to order COVID-19 test.

Department of Health said that they recommend limiting gatherings with over 250 people in attendance. They are also recommending limiting visitors to state capitol.

Testing for COVID-19 does not mean the patient has the disease. Officials advise if you’re sick, stay away from work and gatherings.


- Anyone over 65 or with complicated medical conditions avoid large gatherings with 250 people

- Strongly recommending cancelling events with 250 or more.

- Social distancing is recommended


The MSDH recommends that schools cancel and delay any mass gatherings

They also recommend canceling any group assemblies or unessential and restricting athletic events.

MSDH said they do not expect to close schools right now in Mississippi.


All eight of Mississippi’s public universities are adjusting their schedules due to the outbreak.

Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi are all observing Spring Break this week. That break is now extended by a week.

Classes are currently set to resume March 23 and will be taught online or through other methods. Students are encouraged to remain at home and participate in classes remotely.


Visitation is suspended at all facilities where MDOC inmates reside effective immediately.


Lieutenant Governor, Delbert Hosemann said, “This is about protecting vulnerable people who live in Mississippi.”

“Everyone use common sense. We had one citizen do exactly the right thing. We anticipate this will be disruptive and different for a period of time."

Philip Gunn stated, "We as state leaders are taking this seriously. We will continue to monitor this. Be patient, use common sense.

A sample that a provider collects can be transported directly by courier to the public health lab where it is processed and ran.

The Mississippi State Department of Health is conducting further investigation to limit spread of the virus from this case.

42 tests have been completed at this time.

MSDH says that testing is available, call your doctor and don’t go to the emergency room unless it is an actual emergency.

People over 65 should not attend large gatherings.

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