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Local Attorney, Richard Schwartz, donated 1000 N95 face masks to healthcare workers of Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc. on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.  The masks will be distributed among the 17 clinics that make up Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative Incorporations network of community health centers throughout the Pine Belt.  The masks will also be used for their drive through testing centers over the coming weeks at Hattiesburg Family Health Center on May 13, at Beaumont Family Health Center on May 19, and at Seminary Family Health Center on May 21.  N95 masks, which protect wearers from airborne particles, are in short supply worldwide because of the coronavirus pandemic.  A shortage of equipment vital to protecting our healthcare professionals has become a huge concern for frontline workers treating COVID-19 patients. Schwartz says, “We recognize the need to support our most vulnerable essential workers during this crisis, which are our healthcare workers.  I wanted to do my part by donating these face masks to local hospitals.”  Schwartz will be donating face masks to other local hospitals in cities throughout the state.  Click here to view the news coverage from WDAM.

posted May 1, 2020

Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Inc. (SeMRHI) is dedicated to keeping our patients and communities safe. As a network of seventeen community health centers, located in Hattiesburg, Seminary, Sumrall, Lumberton, Beaumont, New Augusta, Brooklyn, Picayune, and Petal, we are uniquely positioned to respond to health crises such as the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are actively taking steps to protect our patients as we monitor the spread of the Coronavirus. For questions, please 601-658-0058 or email communityhealth@semrhi.com.

What is Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) are working to detect, contain, and limit the spread of cases in the U.S. and Mississippi. MSDH is actively preparing doctors and hospitals on how to respond safely and effectively to COVID-19 in Mississippi.

Like the flu, COVID-19 is thought to be spread person-to-person by close contact (within 6 feet) and by coughing or sneezing. Other possible routes of transmission, such as touching surfaces contaminated by the virus, are also being investigated.

Signs and Symptoms

Fever, Cough, Aches/Chills, and Shortness of Breath

What can I do to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus?

  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. When possible, cough, sneeze, or blow your nose into a tissue, and throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after coughing or sneezing, blowing your nose, and using the bathroom. Effective handwashing takes about 20 seconds, and includes cleaning under fingernails, between fingers, and washing the back of hands as well as the front.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often.
  • Stay in good overall health by eating right and staying active. If you are living with diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions, keep in touch with your doctor and stay current with your treatment.
  • During or before flu season, get a flu shot. Flu vaccination can prevent the flu or make it less severe, and decrease your chance of hospitalization and death. It also keeps you healthier and better able to fight off infections.
  • If you are sick, especially with shortness of breath, cough, fever or similar flu-like symptoms, call a doctor or healthcare provider.


Additional Recommendations from The Mississippi State Department of Health                           

  • Avoid gatherings of 250 people or more, especially if there is evidence of transmission in your county or adjacent counties. If you do attend, remember to practice hand hygiene.
  • To prevent illness in those most vulnerable, anyone 65 or older OR with a chronic medical condition should avoid any gathering of 250 people or more (corrected from 50 earlier).
  • Avoid unnecessary (non-urgent) air, bus, or train travel.
  • Limit visitation to older relatives or friends (especially in nursing or care homes).
  • Prepare for the possibility that schools or daycare centers may temporarily close.

(The information on this page is provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)


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