(JACKSON, Miss.) Thursday, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced the formulation of the City of Jackson Coronavirus Taskforce to respond to the potential impact that COVID-19 could have on Jackson communities. This, after the Mississippi Department of Health confirmed the first reported case in the state, just hours earlier. The City’s Coronavirus Taskforce will consist of a team of experts from organizations such as Jackson State University’s College of Health Sciences, Merritt Health, and include Jackson Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Errick Greene, Family Medical Practitioner, Dr. Timothy Quinn, and other public health experts. The task force will be in regular contact with the state epidemiologist for the Mississippi Department of Health, according to the mayor.
During the press conference, Mayor Lumumba said, “You’ll remember that last month- out of concern for those first impacted by this virus in China, I called for medical supplies to be sent over there to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus early on. Now, In light of the rapid progression of the spread of this virus and its potential impact on our communities- we felt it extremely important to develop a team of experts to set a plan in place for how we respond to this public health issue.”
According to the MSDH, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Mississippi is of a male in Forrest County who has recently returned from a trip to Florida. That individual has been quarantined to his home and an active investigation is underway to locate and quarantine anyone who may have made contact with him.
While the risk to the general public remains low, residents aged 65 and over and those with underlying health conditions such as lung and heart disease and diabetes are at increased risk for experiencing severe symptoms should they become infected. Those residents are urged to avoid mass gatherings of 200 people or more.
Individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should NOT go to the emergency room, but contact their primary care physician.
Below are the CDC’s prevention tips:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and certainly if your commute includes public transit.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The purpose of a face mask is to prevent droplets from sneezing and coughing from becoming airborne.
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