The Mississippi Department of Health is remaining vigilant as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country. And as MPB's Kobee Vance reports parts of the state's pandemic response plan have already been activated.
There are no cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi, the disease caused by the new Coronavirus, but state health officials are watching it closely. State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, says he's especially concerned about how the virus affects older, sicker populations.
"The chronic conditions that they've seen in China with people who have not done as well are gonna be diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD, you know those sorts of chronic medical conditions."
Dobbs says the state already has a pandemic response plan and early components of it have been activated. He says it contains guidance and recommendations on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Each person spreads it to about to about two, two point two people. So it's contagious a little bit more or similar to typical flu virus. But if we can limit people to spreading it from one to another, and if we can get that number from two point two to less than one, it will b
There's been an increased demand for face masks to guard against the virus. However, Dr. Dobbs says the masks are only effective for people in the medical field, or those are already infected.
"If someone's sick and they're coughing and maybe they can get infectious droplets out, it kinda contains them so they don't get out into the environment. But for the general public, unless you're sick or unless you're in a healthcare environment taking care of sick folks there's really no utility to using a mask."
Dobbs says If you are sick, the most important thing is to stay home.