Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Coronavirus Outbreak Update

January 31,2020

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mississippi State Department of Health continue to closely monitor an outbreak of respiratory illnesses caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China which has resulted in several thousand infections and numerous deaths.

Cases are now being reported from other parts of China and other countries, including the U.S. Transmission to healthcare workers is also possible. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020.

There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this rapidly evolving outbreak. (source: MSDH)


For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people being mildly sick to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. 

Mississippi Residents

In the U.S., there have been a total of six cases of the virus reported with more than 100 under investigation as possible cases. The risk of transmission of this virus in the U.S. is low. So far, Mississippi has no persons under investigation or confirmed cases.

“I think it’s important for the general public in Mississippi, that right now we feel like the risk is low to the general public. It is important to remember that to get this virus you have to be exposed to it,” said State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD during the Mississippi Department of Health briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. “We currently do not have any cases in Mississippi. We don’t have anybody that we’re currently investigating as potentially a case in Mississippi…We wanted to make sure that the Mississippi public is aware that we are monitoring this.”

“This is a rapidly evolving situation, but it’s important to note that the immediate risk to the Mississippi public is low at this time. We need to be prudent and monitor the situation, work with the CDC, and continue working with our healthcare systems throughout the state,’’ said Dr. Dobbs. “There should be more concern in preventing the spread of seasonal flu than this coronavirus right now. We are in peak season and the flu is highly infectious.”

Read more about how the Mississippi Department of Health and CDC are working together here.

Prevention & Treatment

 There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Travel to China Warning

The CDC has released a Warning Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. It is recommended that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China


Press Conference: MSDH: Health Officials Monitoring Coronavirus Outbreak

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