BREAKING NEWS! First coronavirus case confirmed in Perry County

From Staff Reports

Perry County is reporting its first COVID-19 case.

The announcement came early Wednesday as officials reported 13 new cases of the new coronavirus across the state. Perry County was one of four county’s reporting a confirmed case for the first time. Others were Bolivar, Coahoma and DeSoto. The new reporting takes the total number of cases in Mississippi to 34 as of Wednesday.

No details were available concerning the case in Perry County at the time of this posting. Federal, state and local officials continue to issue warnings and advice to citizens regarding the current Coronavirus pandemic, while at the same time pleading with people to not panic as daily life for most Americans has been turned on its head.

The Perry County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to declare a state of emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials were careful to say at the time that the move was a precautionary one that will give them the ability to access resources that would otherwise not be available. Perry County Emergency Management Director Colby Prine said the declaration will also help the county receive reimbursements from the state and federal government if and when those funds are made available.

“We have no confirmed cases in Perry County,” Prine told county supervisors Monday afternoon. “But, there probably will be at some point. It is coming.”

Prine’s words proved prophetic. However, he and other officials, continue to urge residents to not panic and to continue to follow the recommendations from state and federal health officials regarding the outbreak.

For most people, coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can lead to more severe illness or death.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. People with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover, according to the World Health Organization.

Across the U.S., officials urged older Americans and those with chronic health conditions to stay home, and recommended all group gatherings be capped at 10 people. Health officials say that “social distancing” — encouraging people to avoid close contact with others — is a key to slow the spread of the virus and keep U.S. hospitals from being overwhelmed with a sudden deluge of patients.

Other safeguards and precautions recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:

  • 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 percent 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.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • 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 and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
  • 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.
  • For more information visit a trusted source, such as www.cdc.gov.

Gov. Tate Reeves enacted a State of Emergency to help battle the spread of the virus and issued two executive orders on Monday. One of those orders makes the National Guard available at testing centers for the virus, with a goal of creating additional testing centers. The other order allows schools and state and local governments to give time off to “nonessential personnel.” Reeves said he encourages other employers to do the same.

Most school districts across the state cancelled classes this week at Gov. Reeves’ request. Schools in the Perry County and Richton school districts were already out of session this week observing Spring Break, but will likely remain closed next week, and possibly longer.

Richton Supt. of Education Clay Anglin said Wednesday morning he is monitoring the situation closely and plans to make a decision Thursday concerning school plans for next week. Anglin said his advice at the moment is for the community to be prepared for Richton schools to be closed, but that local officials are awaiting news from a Thursday morning meeting of the State Board of Education before making a final decision.

The dramatic escalation of restrictions by U.S. officials and elsewhere across the globe was sparked by new scientific evidence suggesting that more than 1 million people in the U.S. and 250,000 people in the U.K. might die from the virus if officials did not act aggressively to suppress its spread.

The analysis, published by Imperial College London, drew on the latest data from China and Italy. It found that a strategy of “mitigation” — slowing but not stopping the spread of the virus while protecting vulnerable groups like the elderly — would still lead to a huge number of cases that would overwhelm the health care system.

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