Visitors to the Lawrence County Courthouse will find the doors locked, one of the latest precautions being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
According to Emergency Management Director Tony Norwood, the change is being made in order for the county to operate within the guidelines of directives from the governor’s office. That directive asks for a limit of 10 people in a group.
Norwood said employees are still at work, and the needs of the public are being met. Anyone with business at the courthouse should call the office they need and someone will meet them at the door. He asks that business be conducted quickly and that no visiting occur. The object is to limit the possibility for the virus to spread.
Because the offices in the courthouse are spaced apart, the limit of 10 people in a group is no problem.
Other safety regulations include not shaking hands, or otherwise touching others, and staying six feet away from others.
In addition to the courthouse, Lawrence County libraries are closed because of the difficulty in sanitizing the materials that are handled by multiple users.
Monticello’s city hall is asking visitors to use the drive-thru window to conduct their business, according to Mayor Martha Watts.
The doors have been closed to the public and hand sanitizer has been put out at all city locations, Watts said.
In addition, Dixie Youth Baseball has suspended all games and practices through March 29, Watts said.
Watts advises everyone to use common sense in their interactions with others in order to minimize the danger of spreading the disease.
Tuesday morning, a meeting was held by school system officials to determine how to feed students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals, Norwood said. No information was available at press time, but he said they were discussing curbside grab-and-go as a possible solution.
Norwood said the county currently has no cases of coronavirus but has begun testing, and there are people with similar symptoms in the county.
Norwood pointed out that some of the dirtiest items that individuals handle are money and gas pumps. He advises to use plenty of hand sanitizer when handling these things.
He also pointed out that after three or four uses of hand sanitizer, moisturizer should be used because the sanitizer dries out the skin and can cause it to crack, which is one of the worst things that can happen when trying to protect from the disease.
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.
According to the health department, 389 individuals have been tested in Mississippi, 21 of which tested positive, as of Tuesday. There have been no deaths associated with the disease in the state.
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 are expected.
The risk of infection to the general public in the state 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.