MSDH reports two new coronavirus cases in Forrest County

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Two new cases of coronavirus have been reported by the Mississippi State Department of Health. 

Both of the new cases are in Forrest County, which is the same location as the state’s first case which was reported on Wednesday. Final verification for all cases will come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One of the new cases is a woman over the age of 65 who recently traveled to North Carolina. Like the first case, the other is a man who recently traveled to Florida. The woman has been hospitalized, and the man was not but has been self-isolating at home. 

“We are conducting further investigation to determine if and how these cases might be connected to the first presumptive case. At this point, that is not clear, but we are thoroughly exploring all possibilities,” said MSDH State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH.

On Thursday, health officials held a press conference to provide the public with the latest updates and recommendations amid the outbreak. 

Dobbs announced Thursday that MSDH is expanding access to COVID-19 testing that will allow physicians to submit specimens to the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory or commercial labs without prior consultation with MSDH. If individuals are worried about having COVID-19, they should call their healthcare provider.

Additionally, Dobbs said the MSDH is expanding recommendations for long-term care visitors and large social gatherings.

“We know that this virus is easily spread person to person, so we recommend limiting visitations and discontinuing any group social activities in long-term care facilities,” he said.

MSDH also recommends that individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 250 people and take precautions when they are in public. Communities and organizations should take the current coronavirus situation into account in planning or canceling events.

“Stay informed of the cases in your county and surrounding counties, and maintain social distancing as practical,” said Dobbs. “Our older population and chronically ill individuals, who are especially at risk, should protect themselves by avoiding gatherings of more than 250 people.”

Officials urge you to help prevent the spread of the virus by staying home if you feel sick, wash your hands often and cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing.

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