State Health Officer says coronavirus may be ‘pandemic scenario of our generation’

State Health Officer says coronavirus may be ‘pandemic scenario of our generation’

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “To insure we are prepared to take immediate action, today I’m signing an executive order establishing the Mississippi coronavirus preparedness and response planning steering committee.”

Those words came from Governor Tate Reeves as he signed the coronavirus task force into being on Wednesday afternoon.

It will bring together knowledge and leaders from several agencies to proactively plan and mitigate the coronavirus if it should move into Mississippi. The steering committee is headed up by State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

Dobbs says the planning is already well underway.

“Our country and our world is being affected by what may be the pandemic scenario of our generation," said Dobbs. "Now, one thing, I think it’s very important to know is this is something we have been anticipating and planning for for well over a decade.”

Officials are clear that preparations right now are ahead of COVID-19. Fewer than 10 people have been tested, and all have tested negative.

“There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mississippi, but we must remain vigilant and continue to plan for all contingencies,” Reeves said.

There's a manual already in place, Dobbs says, and it's 451 pages.

“We have a robust and well-thought out, well maintained pandemic flu response that we have worked diligently along with MEMA and under Director (Greg) Michel’s leadership, we have an actionable plan that we can implement based on the scenario that we’re facing,” he said.

Officials remain optimistic that with planning and proactive measures, they can minimize any impact COVID-19 might have on the Magnolia State.

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