What should you do if you suspect you might have virus? County officials offer guidance

Published 9:59 pm Monday, March 16, 2020

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NATCHEZ — If an individual suspects they have COVID-19, their first response should not be to go to the doctor immediately, emergency officials said during a Monday meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Natchez-Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said those who do go to the doctor place others at risk of contracting the virus, including physicians and the general public.

“Call your local doctors and primary care physicians,” Bradford said during Monday’s meeting. “We don’t want people just flooding the emergency room.”

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AMR Operations Manager Tim Houghton said the appropriate response, first and foremost, is not to panic.

“If your temperature is 100.4 or greater and doesn’t respond to fever medication such as Tylenol … then you have a suspicion that you might need to be checked out,” Houghton said. “You’re dealing with a lot right now, particularly seasonal flus and allergies due to pollens, and that has a lot of people panicking. The earmark for this disease is if I’m sustained at 100.4 or greater and can’t break it with something across the counter then I need to call 911 and seek treatment.”

Houghton said those who feel they have been exposed to COVID-19 do not need to drive themselves to the hospital or doctor without calling first because doing so doesn’t give physicians time to equip themselves to receive the patient.

“If you feel as though you’ve been exposed, call 911,” Houghton said, adding E911 walks the caller through a series of questions that would place AMR fully equipped en route to the individual to minimize the risk of exposing others to the disease.

“We notify the ER and they’ve got policies in place so we’re taking them to a set area and not exposing that person to the general public and everyone inside the ER,” Houghton said. “Any cases that we pick up that we’re suspicious of, we report to the Mississippi Department of Health. For the general public it’s not time to panic. … It will all be a smooth seamless process through the testing and singling out of that individual.”

For more information on COVID-19, please visit CDC.gov/COVID19 or msdh.ms.gov/coronavirus or call the Mississippi Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline at 877-978-6453. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.