COVID-19: It’s time to prepare, not panic

By JENNIFER BOZEMAN,

Many people are anxious over the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19). What can we do? Don’t panic, but be prepared, and isolate.

As of press time Tuesday morning, Mississippi cases rose to 21 confirmed cases. The best solution for this virus? Isolation! Schools are closed, some businesses have closed or provide limited resources, and more are to be expected in the coming days. Grocery store shelves are wiped out, but both managers of our local stores, Jeff Holloman and Eddy Parker, say delivery trucks are working as much as they can to replenish their stock.

A meeting was held at Quitman City Hall Monday with emergency management, officials, banks, grocery stores, doctors and other concern citizens for everyone to get on the same page before Clarke County is hit with the virus.

Mayor Eddie Fulton and the board of aldermen are looking into solutions for the city. He is also looking into a drive through testing station for the near future.

“We can’t stop it, but we can slow it down. Clean everything and wash your hands,” said Mayor Fulton.

Supervisor Mickey Long asked about the safety of the city water. “Right now, according to what we know, our water is not a pathogen. So as of today, our water is safe to drink,” says Jonathan Tanner with the city water department.

Local doctor, Dr. Jack McHenry, provided information about the virus.

“Once it is here, it’s too late. The cure for this virus is isolation. We are the carriers. If you stay on your property or in your house, it will not come to you. It’s not in the water, it’s not in the air.

That’s what we need to concentrate on, not only in this county, but the country. We are a little isolated here, that’s why it’s not as bad here yet, but it is coming.”

He also spoke of issues on the medical side.

“We need to prevent a surge of virus patients. If the curve gets too high, you will have a lot of unnecessary deaths because our medical facilities cannot carry the load, and isolation will slow this virus down. The only way we can beat this is to stop it early.”

Dr. McHenry left these recommendations in the meeting:

• Handwashing is superior to sanitizers, 20 seconds up to above the wrists. Wash your hand!

• I would recommend wearing a mask. The point in doing so is to keep you from touching your mouth and nose with your hands because that is the point in transmission.

• Clean all surfaces! Think of it this way. If someone can pull a fingerprint off of the surface, metal, glass or whatever, the virus can live on it. The new CDC recommendations says the virus can live on flat surfaces such as metal for 72 hours.

Clarke County Emergency Management Director Eddie Ivy told us some changes in emergency procedures within the county.

• 911 Dispatch now have rules in place and screening questions to ask people who call for an ambulance. Please be patient with this new process.

• The EMTs who respond to emergencies are limiting exposure to sick patients depending on the questions 911 dispatchers are asking patients. “Our responders will be still answering calls, but we are going to use good judgement and try to limit exposure, not only for the good to the public, but for our responders,” said Ivy.

• Ivy recommended to city halls to use their drop boxes for city payments and handling the money at the end of the day.

• Fire departments are adding more information to their emergency reports to keep track of who responded to calls in case a patient tests positive. Ivy recommended to the fire departments to limit weekly meetings to only required activities. 

“We’ve got to be creative with how we do our business now. My main concern is the need for self-isolation and distancing. That’s how it spreads. If you can stay at home, stay at home! That’s how we are going to defeat this,” said Ivy.

“Dispatch is doing a great job screening calls,” said Quitman Police Officer Tom Costello. “If we get a call that they are not sure about, they will give us the number to call.”

Mississippi cases jumped from 10 cases to 21 in a day’s time.

All Mississippi cases to date

County Cases

Copiah 2

Forrest 3

Hancock 1 * previously reported in Pearl River County

Hinds 2

Leflore 1

Monroe 1

Pearl River 2

Total 12

 

Information from the Center for Disease Control

Know How it Spreads

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

Throw used tissues in the trash.

Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.

If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Watch for symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

Fever

Cough

Shortness of breath

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include: This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

New confusion or inability to arouse

Bluish lips or face

Tribune information

At this time, we will remain open to the public. Any changes will be posted on our Facebook or on the door.

Please email all changes/closures to jbozeman@clarkecountytrib.com so we can get those updates to our customers.

If you would like to limit exposure, we have several ways to pay for your subscriptions, classifieds, turn in church news, etc.

• Email info to jbozeman@clarkecountytrib.com

• Pay subscriptions online at www.clarkecountytrib.com

• Call in with your information and/or credit card information 601-776-3726.

• We also have a slot in the bottom of our door.

• If you are elderly or immune-compromised, you can pull up out front and call us 601-776-3726. We will be glad to offer curbside service for those in need.

Watch The Clarke County Tribune’s website www.clarkecountytrib, or our Facebook for up-to-date information. We will have more information in next week’s Tribune as well.