Lincoln County emergency manager reminds all to ‘be vigilant’

Published 5:07 pm Monday, March 30, 2020

Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in Pike County reported its first COVID-19 death on Sunday, as the state’s death count from the virus rose to 16 Monday.

As of Monday there were 89 new cases reported in the state for a total of 847. Lincoln County accounts for 11 positive cases, Emergency Manager Clifford Galey said.

King’s Daughters Medical Center spokesman David Culpepper said five patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 are currently hospitalized and four more are in house whose test results are pending.

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Southwest’s CEO Charla Rowley posted on the hospital’s social media that the patient who died was a 48-year-old man who had been receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit “and despite the valiant efforts of our Critical Care specialists and respiratory support team, he was unable to recover from this infection.”

SMRMC currently has four positive patients and four patients suspected of having COVID-19 being treated in their facility.

Galey said it is important to follow the guidelines from the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it comes to hand washing, social distancing and quarantines.

“I realize that we have to go to the grocery and the doctor and the bank. And I realize that we have to get something to eat. But, we need to be vigilant about this because it’s spreading rapidly,” he said. “We do not need to be going anywhere that we don’t need to go. That’s the only way we’re going to stop the spread of it.”

Galey said he’s afraid the numbers are going to begin to climb more rapidly locally because people are not taking the spread of the virus seriously enough.

“We’ve had some deaths throughout the state because of this, and I don’t want that to happen here,” he said. “People don’t need to die from this. We need to be on our Ps and Qs. We need to be vigilant. You can be a carrier and never show any signs or symptoms and never get sick and give it to somebody else. That’s why it’s so important for us to do what we’re supposed to do.”

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


How the virus spreads

• 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.


How to protect yourself

• Clean your hands often — 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.

• Cover coughs and sneezes — 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 percent alcohol.


Clean and disinfect

• 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.

To disinfect:

• Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

• Use diluted household bleach. To make a bleach solution, mix 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.