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Trying to stop Coronavirus

Jessica Riojas, left, a registered nurse for Family Medical Clinic in Crystal Springs and Sharon Teasley, office manager, were manning an outdoor station Monday morning in front of the clinic. They screened patients as they came in for symptoms of the virus and had them wait in their cars if there were symptoms. The effort is to attempt to keep the disease from spreading through close contact in the waiting room. The two said they would be screening patients before they entered the clinic for the foreseeable future.

Crystal Springs Mayor Sally Garland is asking citizens to take precautions and to do their part to keep the coronavirus from spreading in the area. Emergency policies and procedures have been put in place in Copiah County and its municipalities in an effort to head off the disease. Sunday afternoon an additional case of Coronovirus was confirmed in Copiah County by the Mississippi State Department of Health, bringing the total in the county to two. Statewide Tuesday, according to health department statistics, 389 individuals in Mississippi have been tested and 21 have shown positive results for the coronavirus. Cases have appeared in nine counties in the state. Copiah Supervisors, in a meeting Tuesday with 26 stakeholders with concerns about coronavirus, adopted an emergency resolution to provide for the health and safety of citizens. The resolution is based upon the proclamation of the State of Mississippi in dealing with the problem. It will be reviewed every 30 days. According to Copiah County Emergency Management Director Randle Drane, 100 percent of the cost of supplies for dealing with the emergency can be secured for the county and municipalities. Many regulations, illustrated by the requirements that respirators be individually certified before use, have been waived to make care for the victims of the virus more readily available. The Copiah County Medical Center reports that they have adequate supplies to deal with the problem. The hospital has been planning for the possible pandemic for the past four weeks. 3M has made construction masks available which meet medical criteria. Masks will be issued to employees only. Illustration of Copiah Medical Center’s plans to deal with the emergency include limiting of entries to the facility to two, screening all who enter, prohibiting children under age 12 from entering and limiting the number of family members of patients present. The delay of a week and a half to secure supply orders was a concern of all attending the meeting. Use of the Johnson Safe Room in Gallman continues, but a number of rentals have been cancelled. Refund payments on cancelled events were authorized by supervisors. The City of Crystal Springs has postponed municipal court. All action will be rescheduled. Copiah County Circuit Court is following CDC guidelines and will continue as much business as possible but court dates will be rescheduled. Justice Court will follow similar guidelines. Even though there will be some activity in the Circuit Court, citizens over age 65 need only to call the clerk to be excused from jury duty. 911 dispatches will be limited to trauma situations. In other government action, it may become possible for traffic tickets to be handled online and it is possible the Republican Party primary runoff will be postponed. The Sheriff’s office has adopted a set of rules to deal with the pandemic. Under these guidelines jail visits have been suspended until further notice. Copiah County Chancery Court remains open and Region 8 Mental Health is open and ready to assist citizens as needed. Copiah County Coroner Ellis Stuart reported that he is required to swab subjects during this time and is prohibited from sending corona virus victims for autopsy. Nursing Homes are reported to be thoroughly screening patients and access is limited. Copiah Academy is following Mississippi Association of Independent School guidelines which recommends closing of schools for one week after March 16 and will begin a week to week approach on additional school closings with all MAIS activities and athletic events reconsidered on a week to week basis. Faculty and staff were to meet March 16 to determine best method for online classroom instruction. Public schools in the county will be closed through Friday, March 20. Sporting events are cancelled and campuses are closed. More details will be released as they become available. The Health Department has provided no identification or geographic information on the two positive cases of the virus in Copiah County. Citizens were repeatedly asked to observe spacing recommendations of at least six feet from others, use bleach and handcleaner and remember that the virus lives up to 12 hours in the atmosphere and droplets from coughs and sneezes can travel up to six feet. A substitute hand sanitizer can be made with a cup of alcohol, one-half cup of aloe and water. Garland said Monday that public works employees in Crystal Springs are continuing to do their jobs, but are not gathering, are having no training sessions and everyone is using their own vehicles. They are still planting, picking up garbage and limbs and providing other services in town. Garland also said fire department personnel are not running on calls with ASAP ambulance personnel unless their assistance is required. Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves signed two executive orders relating to the disease. The first order activates the National Guard to support mobile testing sites of the Mississippi Department of Health and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency as they work at testing locations. The second order allows state agencies to determine which personnel are essential and to send everyone else home. Cases of COVID-19 continue to be identified in U.S. states, and in some areas, person-to-person transmission has occurred. This is a rapidly changing situation that is continually being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Mississippi State Department of Health as more cases in the U.S. are expected. The risk of infection to the general public in Mississippi remains low, but all Mississippians are advised to take health precautions to prevent the possible transmission of disease. Preventive measures against COVID-19 are the same as those for other respiratory viruses like the flu. To help prevent getting and spreading disease: • 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 and disinfect 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 conditions, keep in touch with your doctor and stay current with your treatment. • During or before flu season, get a flu shot. 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. • If you are sick, especially with shortness of breath, cough, fever, or similar flu-like symptoms, call a doctor or healthcare provider. • In addition, special warnings to the ill and elderly were emphasized and travel is discouraged. And, keeping a distance of at least six feet from others can help prevent the spread of the disease.

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