The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lafayette County this morning, according to Baptist Memorial Hospital and the Mississippi Department of Health.
“While today is the first time we that we can positively confirm the coronavirus in our community, we’ve known this day was coming, and we’ve prepared for it for weeks,” Mayor Robyn Tannehill said in a video released Thursday morning.
The total number of cases in Mississippi is now more than 50.
“We all share in the responsibility of finding ways to keep this virus from spreading, which includes social distancing,” Tannehill said.
Dr. Jason Waller and Dr. Jeff Dennis, two local physicians, joined Tannehill in the video.
Waller said that cases had been suspected in the county for some time.
“This is not the time for panic and chaos,” Waller said, adding that social distancing and hygiene could be essential for slowing the spread of the virus.
Dennis emphasized that people — especially young people — can spread the virus even if they do not have symptoms.
“This could be the most important role you have in this community in your life, as far as a citizen of this town,” he said.
Dennis and Waller said that going to outdoor spaces like parks could be safe, as long as there is enough distance between people in those places.
“We want the community to know that we will return to normal,” Tannehill said. “Your level of social distancing will determine when.”