The Mississippi State Department of Health on Saturday morning reported the number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Mississippi has climbed to 140, including one new case in Hancock County.

That brings the total number of reported cases in Hancock to four.

There was still only one death from the virus reported in the state, a Hancock County man who died on Thursday.

There were two more cases reported in Harrison County on Saturday, bringing its total number to 10. There were also two new cases reported in Pearl River County, bringing its total to nine.

Hinds County now has the highest number of cases in the state, with seven reported on Saturday, bringing its total number to 14.

Late on Friday, the MSDH recommended that all restaurants and bars in the state suspend dine-in services, effective immediately.

"This decision is consistent with the social distancing principles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in line with actions taken by other states," according to an MSDH press release. "This recommendation is for the foreseeable future. Restaurants may still offer carryout or delivery orders to their customers."

 “This will in no way affect gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores or food marts” said MSDH State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH.

Dobbs said that as this virus continues to spread rapidly, prevention has never been more important. Preventive measures Mississippians can take include the following:

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 being safely examined.

• Avoid social gatherings where 10 people or more would come into close contact.

• Practice social distancing: keep at least six feet away from other people in a group.

For more information on prevention measures and the latest guidance, download the free MS Ready mobile app or visit www.HealthyMS.com/covid-19.

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