Neshoba General recently doubled its supplies of masks, gloves and protective gowns out of an abundance of caution over the coronavirus outbreak.

While a 13th U.S. case was reported on Monday, authorities say only those who have traveled to China are at the greatest risk and that more people will die from the flue.

“The coronavirus is in the same group of virus that causes the common cold,” said Sid Hall, emergency planner and education director at Neshoba General. 

“The chance of anyone getting the coronavirus here right now is very low at this time. That could change. We are always looking for the most up-to-date information from the Mississippi Department of Health. We work close with them and the (Centers for Disease Control).”

The CDC has confirmed more than 43,000 cases of the virus — a new respiratory illness which developed in the Wuhan, Hubei Province of China late last year — with most of those cases reported in China. But patients have also tested positive for the virus in 24 other countries, including the U.S. and Canada.

It has also claimed the lives of more than 1,000 worldwide, most of them in China. For perspective, the latest estimates say the current flu season has killed 10,000 people in the U.S. alone.

People who have returned from mainland China in the past 14 days who show signs of fever and respiratory distress, or and anyone who may have come into contact with that person, are considered by health officials to be most at risk. 

It is advised they be isolated, tested and monitored. Staff providing care should use standard, contact and airborne precautions with eye protection (gloves, gowns, N 95 mask, goggles or face shield).