Health officials stress social distancing, masks during Fourth of July weekend

Health officials stress social distancing, masks during Fourth of July weekend

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - As Fourth of July weekend begins, Mississippi is seeing its highest seven-day average of COVID-19 cases.

Along with that, more than 850 patients in hospitals either have or are suspected to have COVID-19.

“Our cases are as high as they’ve ever been and heading toward a point where hospitals and the healthcare system are becoming stressed and ERs are getting backed up,” said Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh of Hattiesburg Clinic.

Health officials are encouraging Mississippians to be smart while celebrating Independence Day by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks if you attend an event.

Rouhbakhsh says Memorial Day was a disaster and launched a second wave of the virus.

“As you go into Fourth of July, gain from the wisdom of our experience and know that we need to be a bit more cautious in our interactions,” Rouhbakhsh said.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs recommended that Mississippians avoid parties and gatherings in a tweet Thursday.

Rouhbakhsh agreed that the best way to protect yourself is to stay home.

“This is assuming you’re going to be getting together with people and in doing so, please try to be outside, please try to distance and if at all possible, please try to mask,” Rouhbakhsh said.

The Mississippi State Department of Health also suggested that people can stay inside cars while watching fireworks if possible.

Fireworks are the only thing you want spreading through the air this Fourth of July. Keep groups small, stay a smart...

Posted by Mississippi State Department of Health on Friday, July 3, 2020

Rouhbakhsh adds that if food is prepared correctly, the virus won’t be transmitted through it.

“One exception is communal bowls or communal things where you reach down and grab, don’t do that,” Rouhbakhsh said.

“We don’t think that there’s any evidence whatsoever that the virus will be transmitted within the pool itself, because it won’t live in water, especially properly treated water,” Rouhbakhsh added.

Rouhbakhsh said that if we aren’t careful, Fourth of July could cause another spike in cases, which could have impacts on the start of the school year.

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