As families throughout the Crossroads area plan their Thanksgiving celebrations, the coronavirus pandemic continues to cast a shadow over the fun and fellowship.
Coronavirus infections are on the rise in the area. Alcorn County had 1,307 cases as of Saturday and 21 deaths and similar numbers could be seen throughout the region.
“The COVID numbers are going up in Alcorn County here in the last couple of weeks so I think we have to be extra vigilant about things,” said Dr. James Gilmore, senior vice president for medical services at Magnolia Regional Health Center.
Gilmore said the CDC currently recommends people not travel for the holidays and if possible have Thanksgiving only with members of their immediate household.
“I think that’s very difficult for some people, so I think realistically, if you’re going to be around people who are not of your household you need to follow the guidelines we’ve been recommending since this all started,” he said.
Those guidelines include wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently.
He encourages those hosting large gatherings to do so outside if weather permits. He said people should also reduce their traveling if possible.
He does expect to see an increase in the virus following the holiday.
“What we have seen is after ever occasion – Fourth of July, Memorial Day, etc, – about 10 days later we see a spike in the number of cases and I expect that to happen after Thanksgiving and maybe even more so since we’re already seeing more cases,” he said.
Anyone who is experiencing any symptom of the virus should get tested immediately and follow all guidelines for separating themselves from others to help prevent the spread.
Gilmore said the most common early symptoms include fever, upper respiratory symptoms like stuffiness or shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and pains as well as an overall feeling of being unwell.