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Vicksburg to begin curfew on Monday among other measures to limit the spread of COVID-19



Dr. Carlos Latorre, left, waits for his turn to speak at Sunday's press conference. Mayor George Flaggs is at the mic. (Photo by David Day)

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced further measures to attempt the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus on Sunday, including a city-wide curfew beginning Monday, March 23, at noon.

“It’s no more business as usual,” the mayor said.

The proclamation was announced during a news conference at the Vicksburg Convention Center on Sunday, March 22, to update the city and county’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Although no cases have been reported in Warren County, the city will be “as proactive as possible,” he said.

“Let me be clear. Over the coming days and weeks, we will be taking even more steps to save lives and limit the exposure of this virus,” the mayor added.

According to the proclamation, a city-wide curfew will be strictly enforced from 11 p.m. until 5 p.m. beginning Monday. Persons should not be on the public street or in any public place unless it is for traveling to or from work or for medical personnel in the performance of their duties. First responders and law enforcement are exempt from this curfew.

A civil emergency declaration gives the city access to mutual aid, and resources from the state and federal government, Flaggs said.

“We feel confident that we are prepared.”

Dr. Carlos Latorre, State of Mississippi Medicaid director and Mississippi COVID-19 task force member, reiterated many of the guidelines issued by federal and state health authorities. He also said that the jump in cases in Mississippi was expected with more testing.

“As we test more, we expect to find more cases,” he said.

Mississippi is limiting testing to people who are symptomatic for the virus, including having a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, coughing and difficulty breathing. To preserve resources, people who are well will not be tested at this time.

Latorre emphasized that people should not go to the emergency room if they have symptoms. Call a doctor or clinic in the area to be evaluated. Those with mild symptoms should “stay home and isolate yourself,” he said.

Clinics will pre-screen before making an appointment, asking whether you’ve been exposed to the virus, for example. If you don’t feel well and want to see your doctor, you will be seen, he added. “Be patient and help us not to spread the virus.”

“Some people say, ‘this is just like the flu,’” Latorre said before making it clear that COVID-19 is not the same, even if symptoms are similar.

“The virus is more contagious than the regular flu,” he said, adding that COVID-19 is two and half times more contagious.

“We also have medication for the flu,” he said, and there are no medications proven effective against COVID-19. Some drugs are being tested, but they are not available for the virus, yet.

A vaccine is in trials, Latorre said, he expects it to be ready in 12 to 18 months.

“A lot of smart people working really hard on it,” he said.

Keep washing your hands and practice social distancing, Latorre advised.

Flaggs reiterated that the city and county are working together on the procedures to be implemented during the crisis. If it is necessary to extend the procedures enacted after 14 days, he will.

In addition to Flaggs and Latorre, officials on hand were Warren County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Holland, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace, Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer, Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk and Vicksburg Police Chief Milton Moore.

View the entire news conference on our Facebook page.

Also, read the full City of Vicksburg civil emergency proclamation.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the MSDH website.


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