Message from Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Health Officer:
As we approach the Labor Day holiday weekend, I implore you to take special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Mississippi still has one of the highest rates of COVID in the U.S. Even modest sized gatherings can greatly accelerate the transmission of this virus. As seen following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, holiday get-togethers can drive massive increases in COVID cases and deaths.
Please take the following steps this weekend to prevent COVID and help keep our schools and colleges open.
- Maintain 6 feet: Staying 6 feet or more away from other people in every setting decreases the likelihood that you will contract the virus if they are contagious. Remember – you can never tell if someone has the virus and is contagious. Around half of transmission occurs from people without symptoms.
- Wear a mask: We know that this has become somewhat controversial and even political. The science is very clear – wearing masks or face coverings is an easy and effective way to decrease transmission, especially if the infected person is wearing a mask. Masks are a great way to contain “super-spreaders” who don’t know they are sick.
- Keep groups small: Small groups limit the likelihood of encountering someone with COVID. If someone does have COVID, it limits the number of people who can get infected. Avoid any crowded areas, especially if they are indoors.
- Clean/disinfect high touch areas frequently.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly.
- Eat and Visit Outdoors: Though possible, it is less likely to spread the virus outdoors. This is true for restaurants or back yards.
- Know your vulnerabilities: This may be the most important thing to know about COVID-19. Most people who contract COVID-19 don’t think they were at risk when the exposure happened. When we are around friends and family, we let our guard down. Exposure to infected family members is one of the most common ways to contract COVID.
- Assume everyone has COVID because they might.
Be safe this Labor Day weekend. If we all do the simple things that prevent COVID now, we can do the important things that make Mississippi a great place to live.
Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH
State Health Officer