JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi State Department of Health held a news conference on Thursday to discuss the coronavirus (COVID-19) and new community recommendations.
“The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is expanding access to COVID-19 testing. Physicians may now submit specimens to the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory or commercial labs without prior consultation with MSDH, just like any other lab test. This will streamline necessary testing as much as possible,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. He also said the people most at risk are adults 65 or older.
Health officials also released some guidelines when it comes to the coronavirus response:
- Limit visitor access at long term care facilities
- Limit mass gatherings of 250 people or more
- No recommendations to close schools at this time
- Schools and organizations encouraged to cancel/delay mass gatherings, like sporting events or social gatherings
- IHL said public universities will modify class schedules
- Visitation suspended at Mississippi Department of Corrections facilities
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said the Emergency Operation Center was raised to a level one. According to MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel, the level hasn’t been this high in Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“This is a posturing move to make sure all of our emergency support functions are in place to assist the Mississippi State Department of Health. This activation is not to create panic. We, at MEMA, are ready to coordinate with our county emergency management agencies and MSDH to ensure there are no unmet needs during the response and recovery from COVID-19,” Michel said.
If you plan to travel to other states, MSDH said you should check for what your potential exposure would be. They said just because you travel does not mean that you need to automatically quarantine yourself.
MSDH stressed that if you are sick, do not go to work or school. If you want to learn more about the symptoms of the coronavirus, click here. MSDH also has a hotline for neighbors to ask questions about the coronavirus.
Governor Tate Reeves is fully aware of the situation and remains in close contact with Dr. Dobbs and Michel for all elements of COVID-19 response.
Click here for more information on the coronavirus.