By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
Bolivar County has lost its first citizen to the coronavirus, bringing the total death toll statewide to 22 as of Wednesday.
City and state governments have announced more restrictive actions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, one that as of Wednesday had infected 1,073 residents.
Cleveland officials released a statement Tuesday announcing closings of certain businesses and parks.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, all barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, bowling alleys and gyms are ordered to close until further notice.
In the statement from the mayor and board of aldermen, “We value every business in our community, as each business adds to the vibrant pattern that makes up Cleveland. Your cooperation will assist us in executing measures to protect all of our citizens.”
Mayor Billy Nowell has also announced the closure of all city parks and playgrounds.
“We absolutely cherish the role of our parks within our community. During this time of uncertainty, our parks have served as an outlet for many of us. However, in an effort to protect the precious lives of our citizens, we believe such drastic measure is unfortunately necessary at this time.”
These measures are in addition to the orders that restaurants and bars close their dining and social areas and offer services that allow customers to take their food home.
This new order comes on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement from the Mississippi State Department of Health on Tuesday that Bolivar County had moved into the top 10 of total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 22.
The Gunnison Board of Aldermen announced Monday that a curfew will be enforced for all citizens and businesses from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice with no gatherings in yards.
Penalties include a $500 fine for the first offense and jail time for a second offense.
State government is taking further action to limit the spread of the virus.
Gov. Tate Reeves Tuesday announced a shelter-in-place order for Lauderdale County.
Residents are ordered to stay at home unless they need to leave for essentials. All non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. The order is until April 14.
Reeves announced the order during a press conference broadcasted on Facebook.
“The fact that the first shelter-in-place is issued for Lauderdale does not mean that they have the most number of cases and does not mean they are the only place in Mississippi where there are challenges, but based on the data that is being collected at the State Department of Health, they believe and they recommended to me that they do this,” said Reeves.
Reeves also said a team will enter Lauderdale County to do mass testing in order to follow his strategy of identify and isolate.
“I also want to be clear that this is the first shelter-in-place order that we are issuing from the state, but I do not anticipate it’s going to be the last,” Reeves said. “As I have said repeatedly, I am ready, willing and prepared to issue shelter-in-place orders wherever the experts tell me that they are needed.”
Reeves cautioned Mississippians that the state is closer to the beginning of this crisis than to the end.
Jackson Mayor Antar Lumumba announced Wednesday a stay-at-home order for the state’s largest city, a similar declaration to Reeves’s for Lauderdale County.
The provision will be in place from April 3 until April 17 or until the order is rescinded or superseded.
The Mississippi State Department of Health reports that the number of cases resulting in hospitalization as of Monday was 211, with 84 percent of those patients over the age of 50.
Social distancing measures are in place to “flatten the curve,” or ensure that infections are spread out over time so that the medical system does not get overwhelmed.
Symptoms of the coronavirus infection include a fever over 100.4 degrees with a heavy cough, difficulty breathing or both.
The coronavirus has an unusually high dormancy period where it can take up to two weeks before a person who is infected begins showing symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the coronavirus is about two times more infectious than the seasonal flu.
Bolivar Medical Center is asking patients who are displaying these symptoms to call the hospital or their primary doctor beforehand to ensure preparedness for their arrival.
Staying home, distancing yourself from others and practicing good hygiene by washing hands and cleaning surfaces are the best ways for healthy people to prevent infection.