The Mississippi State Department of Health recommends that people take certain steps to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
The public should pay close attention to the guidance from the state health department.
While the U.S. has not seen widespread, sustained person-to-person transmission of the new coronavirus COVID-19, public health officials are emphasizing early preparation.
MSDH has been readying the state's healthcare system to deal with the possible presence of COVID-19 in Mississippi. This includes assessing hospital and laboratory capacity, reviewing disease control measures, and making sure that healthcare providers can identify coronavirus cases quickly and accurately so that appropriate steps can be taken.
The MSDH Public Health Laboratory is now equipped to test for COVID-19. Physicians and healthcare providers in Mississippi have received protocols for identifying possible cases and submitting samples for coronavirus testing.
What you can do
Individuals can prepare by making basic infection control measures a habit. Like the flu, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that mainly spreads by coughing and sneezing. If you are familiar with flu prevention, then coronavirus prevention will be similar. Review these healthy habits with your family, and encourage them at school and at work:
- Stay home if you are sick, and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. When possible, cough, sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue, and throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing, blowing your nose, and using the bathroom. Effective handwashing takes about 20 seconds, and includes cleaning under fingernails, between fingers, and washing the back of hands as well as the front.
- Clean surfaces and objects that are touched often.
- Stay in good overall health by eating right and staying active. If you are living with diabetes, heart disease or other condition, keep in touch with your doctor and stay current with your treatment.
- Get a flu shot. Flu is the most severe risk to Mississippians at the moment. A flu vaccination can prevent the flu or make it less severe, and decrease your chance of hospitalization and death. It also keeps you healthier and better able to fight off infections.