COVID-19 Guidance and Prevention for Individuals and the Community

Updated June 1, 2020
This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Individuals, communities and organizations are essential to controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Mississippi. The precautions and guidances here can keep you and the state safer and healthier.

Mississippi Coronavirus Hotline (7 days a week, 7 a.m.–7 p.m.): 877-978-6453

General Information

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, China that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Like the flu, COVID-19 is thought to spread person-to-person by close contact (within 6 feet) and by coughing or sneezing. Other possible routes of transmission may include touching surfaces contaminated by the virus.

Local Testing Providers

Local healthcare providers are now providing sampling and test services at locations across the state for those with COVID-19 symptoms.

Prevention for Individuals

New social distancing and safety requirements began June 1st. Read a summary »

The precautions and requirements below have been determined by the State Health Officer or ordered by the Governor.

Protect Others:

  • Stay home if you are sick, and avoid close contact with anyone who is ill.
  • If you have been tested for COVID-19, stay home and away from others until you get your test result. Learn more »
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. When possible, cough, sneeze or blow your nose into a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • If you are sick, especially with shortness of breath, severe cough, fever or severe chest pain, call a doctor or healthcare provider for instructions on how to visit them safely.
  • Wear a mask or face covering away from home. Business employees in contact with customers are required to wear a face covering.
  • Special notice: Residents of Holmes, Neshoba, Jasper, Lauderdale and Wayne counties are required to wear face covering in all public places and businesses by Governor's order #1493

Wear a mask in public places

All Mississippi residents should wear non-medical grade masks or homemade cloth face coverings when shopping, running errands, or otherwise away from home. Face covering is especially important when a distance of at least 6 feet cannot easily be maintained between persons. This recommendation does not include manufactured (surgical) or N95 masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Protect Yourself

  • Practice social distancing whenever possible. Keep at least 6 feet apart from others when you are outside your home.
  • Avoid large social gatherings and community events.
    • Indoor gatherings are limited to 50 persons indoors if social distancing can still be maintained. When social distancing is not possible, indoor gatherings are limited to 20 persons
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 persons indoors if social distancing can still be maintained. When social distancing is not possible, outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 persons
  • Avoid non-essential business travel.
  • If you are 65 or older, or in poor health, stay home as much as possible (see precaution below).

Practice Protective Hygiene

  • 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 at least 20 seconds, and includes cleaning under fingernails, between fingers, and washing the back of hands as well as the front. More proper handwashing tips »
  • 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 medical condition, keep in touch with your doctor and stay current with your treatment.

Families, Women and Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer specialized recommendations for:

Older Adults and People at High Risk

People at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are adults 65 and over, those who are obese, those with a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, and anyone receiving treatments which may compromise their immune system. These people should take precautions at all times to limit their exposure to others who may be ill:

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • If a household member has been away from home in a public place, keep a safe distance (6 feet or more) from them for 14 days.
  • Keep more space (6 feet if possible) between you and others as you go through the day.
  • If you do go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, and practice strong social distancing. Pay closer attention to hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after being in public places.

Prevention in the Community

New social distancing and safety requirements began June 1st. Read a summary »

Schools, businesses, events and other places that people gather should take steps to prevent or limit the spread of viral illness.

Long-Term Care Facilities

  • MSDH recommends discontinuing group social activities.
  • Consider restricting visitation until further notice.
  • Post signs that discourage all nonessential visitation and discourage ill visitors from entering the facility.
  • Visitors should only visit their family members and should not have contact with other residents since they could spread the virus.
  • Visitors should cover their coughs and be educated on the importance of hand hygiene.
  • Keep all ill visitors away from the facility for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve.
  • Consider limiting visitation by children (especially during community wide outbreaks) and the elderly or those with underlying medical problems that place them at risk.
  • Postpone all groups (like school groups or church groups) from visiting facility — this goes along with discontinuing all group activities.
  • Make sure the facility has plenty of hand washing products and that visitors have access to them.

Social Gatherings and Events

Everyone attending essential events and gatherings should take extra precautions at this time, including:

  • Maintain social distancing as much as possible. A separation of at least 6 feet from another person is considered effective for infection control.
  • Limit indoor gatherings to 50 people while maintaining social distancing. When social distancing cannot be assured, limit indoor gatherings to 20 people.
  • Limit outdoor gatherings to 100 people while maintaining social distancing. When social distancing cannot be assured, limit outdoor gatherings to 100 people.
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Look for sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol..
  • If ill, do not attend any public event and call your physician or healthcare provider if needed.

Special notice: Social gatherings are limited to 10 indoors and 20 outdoors for residents of Holmes, Neshoba, Jasper, Lauderdale and Wayne counties are required to wear face covering in all public places and businesses by Governor's order #1493

Church services

Like any gathering, church services have the potential to spread COVID-19 infection if they are not resumed with suitable precautions. Guidelines have now been issued to help churches offer in-person services while minimizing the risk of disease transmission.


The Mississippi Department of Education has issued COVID-19 guidelines for Mississippi schools:

Child Care Facilities

The Mississippi State Department of Health has not recommended closing child care facilities at this time.

Child care faculties choosing to remain open should be mindful of hygiene and disinfection practices specific to schools and daycares:

Youth Sports

  • All participants must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Concessions must remain closed
  • 100 person maximum per field, including fans
  • Limit of 2 fans per player
  • Fans outside of family group must maintain 6 feet of separation
  • Bleachers shall be closed to fans
  • Businesses and Workplaces

    Workplaces where more than 10 people work in close contact should be mindful of providing strong hygiene support and facilitating social distancing for the safety of its employees and patrons. Employees who are sick should stay at home, and employees should be checked daily for COVID-19 symptoms.

    • All retail businesses, restaurants and bars must limit the number of customers to no greater than 50% capacity.
    • Employees must wear masks or face coverings when in contact with the public.
    • Businesses should take every measure to ensure social distancing and proper hand hygiene for customers.

    Restaurants and bars

    • All restaurants and bars shall limit the number of customers to no greater than 50% capacity
    • All parties or groups must be separated by a minimum of 6 feet
    • All employees must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 daily
    • All employees must wear a face covering when serving the public

    Funeral homes and mortuaries

    MSDH has specific guidance for services of this type.

    State Agencies

    Other Community Guidance

    The CDC offers prevention, response and re-opening guidance for:

    The CDC has guidance for cleaning rooms and buildings visited by those who have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

    Information for Travelers

    The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel (including cruise travel) to all global destinations due to the global pandemic and widespread transmission of COVID-19. All travelers returning from international travel are advised to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after returning home.

    You may be contacted by the Mississippi State Department of Health if you have returned from traveling to an area with restrictions on entry to the US, traveled on a cruise, or traveled on a flight or ship with a confirmed COVID-19 case. We'll provide instructions on protective steps to take, including isolation at home.

    Our free newsletter includes monthly disease updates: 
    Last reviewed on Mar 20, 2020
    Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

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