MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Seven cases of the Coronavirus, which originated in China, have now been confirmed in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the illness a global emergency, and the U.S. State Department is telling Americans not to travel to China.
So far, roughly 10,000 people have gotten sick, and 213 have died.
There’s been little impact for us in the Mid-South, but the situation is fast-developing, meaning that could change. Health officials are not the only ones on alert.
“We do think it’s very likely that we will have people come to Mississippi, who will be either suspects or have Coronavirus in the very near future,” said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer.
Public health officials in Mississippi said Friday they are telling doctors and hospitals in the state to be ready to treat suspected cases. Despite that warning though, they said the risk to Mississippians is low.
“It is important to remember to get this virus you have to be exposed to it,” said Dr. Paul Byers, Epidemiologist with the MS Department of Health.
Mississippi has seen no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, neither has Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. The Arkansas Department of Health is awaiting test results of a patient under investigation for the virus.
Meantime, Memphis-based FedEx is feeling effects of the deadly illness’s spread in China, where it has a significant operation. A spokesperson said Friday shipments in China are affected by work and travel restrictions in the country.
The statement also indicated that inbound and outbound scheduled flights to and from China are continuing as local restrictions allow. FedEx said employees working in China FedEx gateways and ramps are being temperature checked when reporting to work.
“FedEx is adhering to all regulations and guidelines from U.S. and Chinese authorities related to containment of the coronavirus. These work and travel restrictions may affect shipments inbound and outbound to/from Wuhan and other impacted cities within Hubei Province, as well as shipments moving within those cities. Customers can visit fedex.com to check the status of their shipments.
“FedEx Express continues to operate inbound and outbound flights to/from China on a regularly scheduled basis as local conditions and restrictions allow, and we are taking recommended precautions in terms of pilot, crew and customer health and safety.
“The safety and well-being of our team members is our top priority, and we are closely monitoring guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). In areas where outbreaks have been reported, FedEx is supplying surgical masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes to team members and vendors and disinfecting facilities in areas where outbreaks have occurred. In addition, all FedEx and vendor employees reporting to work at Mainland China FedEx gateways and ramps are temperature checked when reporting to work. We are also encouraging our team members to take any signs of illness seriously and seek medical attention as needed.”