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Christian County Health Department COVID-19 UPDATES

THE LATEST:

If you are sick, call your physician. If you don’t have a physician, call the state hotline: 877-435-8411

APRIL 27, 2020 -- Christian County has its twentieth (20) confirmed positive COVID-19

Christian County Health Department has received notification from the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services that another Christian County citizen has tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total count for our county to twenty (20) positive cases.

While twenty (20) cases is a small number in relationship to our population. This new case reminds us that COVID-19 is still active in our community. There is a feeling of both excitement and uncertainty as the time draws nearer for more of our routine trips and activities to be allowed again. I would like to ask that while we are working our way toward a re-opening of our County and State; everyone take this time to evaluate their personal situation and prepare yourself and those within your household for these developments. We must all accept the responsibility for continuing to practice social distancing and good handwashing practices. If you have been considering masks for your family; this would be a good week to obtain some. If you can’t find them in the store, there are a lot of alternatives that can be used.

As more businesses open and people venture farther from their homes, we will see the risk of contracting the virus increase. We can do a lot to help ourselves stay healthy and COVID free. Let’s take up that challenge! Things are starting to get better, let’s keep it that way!

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Media Contact:

Samantha Payne | Public Information Officer | City of Ozark

(Serving as PIO for Christian County Health Department during this incident)

417-581-7002 ext. 2001 | spayne@ozarkmissouri.com

April 20, 2020 -- Christian County now has nineteen (19) positive cases of COVID-19 reported. It will not be surprising if more new cases are reported in the coming weeks. If an increase in positive cases occurs, it could be attributed to the increased number of tests that are available; which allows for individuals with only mild symptoms to be tested.

Public health officials have speculated for several weeks that more cases were likely present than were being accounted. Without the availability of testing, those individuals weren't being reported.

The discovery of more positive cases can be concerning for some residents. Public Health officials believe that the more cases being found will lead to expanded investigations that will help curb the virus further. This will allow those needing to be quarantined into a situation where they can be safe for themselves and others more quickly.

Stay resolved Christian County, you are doing a tremendous job with social distancing and it shows!

Christian County, Nixa, & Ozark developing a reopen/recover plan

April 17, 2020 -- Leaders across Christian County, Nixa, and Ozark are working to create a plan for our return to normalcy. We are in ongoing discussions with area healthcare leaders and with Springfield and Greene County as we draft a plan that will ensure the health and safety of our region AND get our economy back running again as soon as safely possible. We are also taking Federal and State guidance into consideration, as we craft a plan that makes the most sense locally.

Governor Parson’s statewide stay-at-home order has been extended through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday May 3rd. Our current local orders are in effect until Friday April 24th at 11:59 p.m. Christian County, Ozark, and Nixa are working with our regional partners to evaluate the possibility of extending or modifying these orders in the appropriate phases so that we may begin getting our economy moving forward.

Stay tuned, we will provide another update about the plan before April 24th. Once we have a plan finalized, we will announce it across our communication channels.

In the meantime, please know that the Springfield/Greene County Health Department’s daily press conferences are a great source of official information which represent the best and most current guidance from health departments and local governments across our region

April 16, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christian County holding at eighteen (18) positive COVID-19 cases

Ozark, MO -Christian County Health Department is pleased to share that we are holding steady at eighteen (18) total COVID-19 positive cases that have been reported in Christian County. Twelve (12) of the eighteen (18) cases have now recovered from the virus. That leaves only six (6) cases that are being monitored at this time from the positive group.

A large number of close contacts have been monitored throughout the past several weeks. Of the large group that we have been monitoring, only seven (7) are still being monitored.

That leaves our numbers at only thirteen (13) people that need to be monitored in Christian County. These numbers are very encouraging for a county as large as ours.

Cindy Bilyleu, Christian County Health Director said, “We firmly believe that social distancing and good handwashing etiquette has helped keep our case count down thus far.” Governor Parsons stated in his press conference today that it is very possible we will start to see businesses start opening back up and employees going back to work during the first week in May.

Continue to do all you can while the order is still in place to keep our county as healthy as possible. It will give us a great start to moving into this new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

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April 14, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christian County working to contain COVID-19

Ozark, MO - The Christian County Health Department, along with Missouri Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are closely monitoring available information on COVID-19. Christian County Health Department is continuing to work alongside our regional partners to make sure that every effort to contain the virus is made.

There have been eighteen (18) confirmed positive cases so far in Christian County. Of the eighteen (18) confirmed cases there have been eight (8) recoveries. It is important to note that some of those not listed as “recovered” are free of symptoms but haven’t met the mandatory CDC timeline for being declared recovered.

The staff of Christian County Health Department is tasked with protecting the health of our entire county, and does so with professionalism, integrity, and pride. While performing communicable disease investigations, CCHD strives to safeguard the private health information of affected patients. In some rare cases it is necessary to share normally protected information related to the investigation for the purpose of protecting the public. Such decisions are not made lightly, and the CCHD utilizes the guidance of our state and federal public health partners as well as the latest epidemiological findings to come to a reasoned conclusion about necessity.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities is a shared responsibility. We must all assume that we could be infected by any person we encounter and any home or business we enter. Everyone must physically distance themselves and continue to practice thorough hand-washing techniques. Christian County Health Department is appreciative of all the residents who are staying at home. We thank our community leaders, first responders, and healthcare providers for their service and self-sacrifice. We are grateful for the public’s support during this time while we continue to work tirelessly to slow the spread of the virus and safeguard private health information. As we learn more about COVID-19 with each passing day, we will continue to work with our partners across the county to carry out our mission to protect the health of Christian County’s citizens. Updates to our current numbers and processes can be found on the Christian County Health Department Facebook page and at christiancountyhealth.com.

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APRIL 3, 2020

Indication That Stay at Home Order is Working

Christian County Health Department reports that as of 9:00 a.m. on April 3, 2020, the State of Missouri has reported a total of sixteen (16) positive cases of COVID-19 whose residence is within Christian County. Our number of cases is slowly increasing. There is a strong indication that social distancing is working. In a county with over 86,000 residents, only (16) positives have been reported.

• Fifteen (15) out of the sixteen (16) reported cases have known how, or why they contracted the virus.

• Eight (8) cases have travelled either out of State or out of the U.S.

• Seven (7) cases have either been in direct contact with a positive co-worker or are the spouse of one of the now positive co-workers.

• None of the employment related exposures work in Christian County.

• While the only case not related to travel or work is uncertain where they were exposed, they feel strongly that they contracted the virus at a gym prior to the stay at home order.

This data paints a clear picture that Christian County residents are not spreading the virus among themselves at this time. It has been determined that travel and close contact with others (such as co-workers) increases the risk of spreading the virus.

We understand the Stay at Home order takes its toll in various ways on our citizens. We are asking everyone, who possibly can, to continue to be respectful of the order in an effort to keep their family, friends and neighbors as healthy as possible during these challenging times. Christian County is often noted as one of the healthiest counties in the State of MO. Let’s keep it that way!

APRIL 2, 2020

Christian County Health Department reports that as of April 2, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. the number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by the State of Missouri stands at fourteen (14). It is encouraging to know that for the present time; we are holding our own in Christian County.

Many citizens and organizations have contacted the health department to offer assistance in the effort to contain the COVID-19 virus. One of the most beneficial things one can do at this time (other than to “Stay at Home”) is to volunteer with Show Me Response.

Show Me Response is a registry of individuals, both professional and laypersons, that are willing to help with medical services during emergency situations. Applicants are encouraged to volunteer, but be sure and designate Christian County as the service area they prefer to work in. Volunteers will be contacted when help is needed. As with most volunteer programs, you will not be required to volunteer for a specific location or at a time that is inconvenient for you.

In the case of possible emergencies, it is always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. In the event that we would see a surge in COVID-19 patients, it would be extremely beneficial to have our volunteers signed up and ready to receive a call. Hopefully, that call will not be needed for COVID-19. However, if it does, we will be more fully prepared with a roster of talented volunteers.

For more information go to the Show Me Response website which can be found at:

www.showmeresponse.org

March 30, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Taney County Health Department Investigates Case of COVID-19 in Healthcare Worker

Christian County Health Department is partnering with the Taney County Health Department and Cox Medical Center Branson on the investigation of a Christian County resident testing positive for COVID-19. The individual is a healthcare employee at CoxHealth Heart Center, a stand-alone clinic Branson. Anyone who was in close contact has been notified and the individual is in isolation at this time.

There have been ten (10) confirmed case of COVID-19 in Christian County. Currently cases are spread fairly even between Nixa (4), Ozark (3), and Sparta (3). While we are reporting cities with positive cases; it is important to remember that at this time these locations are not at an increased risk for new exposures or contraction of COVID19. It is just as likely that our next case could reside at any one of the other communities in our county that have yet to have a case. Christian County Health Department asks that you please stay at home unless you must go out for essential items, such as food and medications.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Preventive measures continue to be the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Prevention for individuals includes; washing your hands, avoid gatherings of 10 or more, and stay at home unless essential.

For additional COVID-19 information, visit www.christiancountyhealth.net , or follow us on Facebook @christiancountyhealth

If you are sick, call your physician. If you don’t have a physician, call the state hotline: 877-435-8411

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Media Contact:

Samantha Payne | Public Information Officer | City of Ozark

(Serving as PIO for Christian County Health Department during this incident)

417-581-7002 ext. 2001 | spayne@ozarkmissouri.com

March 27, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christian County has its 7th confirmed case of COVID-19

Ozark, MO – The Missouri Department of Health has reported to the Christian County Health

Department that as of Friday March 27, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. seven (7) cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.

There have been three (3) new cases in Christian County reported since 6:00 p.m. on March 26th.

This brings our total to 7 cases. Heath Department officials have been expecting this increase would come; but also want to gain control of the situation as a community as soon as possible.

It is time to start weighing decisions on an individual level. We have held onto the mantra of wash your hands and keep distanced from other people. We must all join in this effort by making good decisions. Wash your hands both before leaving home or work and then again when returning. This protects both you and those you come into contact with.

Christian County Health Department Administrator Cindy Bilyeu says, “As the number of positive cases in Christian County are starting to increase, we would like to inform our community that we have extra qualified staff coming onboard to assist with these investigations. We will continue to put forth 100% effort towards the process of identifying all those who have come in contact with known cases and asking for self-quarantine of those individuals.”

The Christian County Health Department advises during the Stay at Home Order there are still several essential services that are available. The key word here is “essential”. Please refrain from making unnecessary trips to businesses or other areas that are “allowed” trips. Multiple trips mean multiple chances to spread the COVID 19 virus. Consolidate trips to the grocery store, gas stations or other areas, this helps both you and those you might be unknowingly infecting in the event that you or those you are temporarily sharing a space with have contracted the virus, but aren’t seeing symptoms yet. Sometimes we assume someone near us is “safe” because they don’t look or act sick.

Please do not make these assumptions. Very few of our cases knew they were being exposed at the time they initially contracted the virus. It is temporarily a whole new approach for a close-knitcommunity to live by. Yet it is of utmost importance for each of us to be a part of the solution to this unwanted situation. Protect yourself, and protect those around you.

If you are sick, call your physician. If you don’t have a physician, call the state hotline: 877-435-

8411

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Media Contact:

Samantha Payne | Public Information Officer | City of Ozark

(Serving as PIO for Christian County Health Department during this incident)

417-581-7002 ext. 2001 | spayne@ozarkmissouri.com

March 23, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christian County has its 2nd confirmed case of COVID-19

Ozark, MO – The Missouri Department of Health has reported to the Christian County Health Department that as of Monday March 23, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. a second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed. A second Christian County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The new confirmed case is the spouse of the first confirmed case.

At this time, we do not have any community spread in Christian County. The two confirmed cases traveled to a bordering state and were exposed to COVID-19 at a group event there.

The Christian County Health Department is reporting that as of 10:30 a.m. Monday March 23, 2020,

· Thirty-nine (39) total tests have been conducted;

· Two (2) individuals have tested positive;

· Eight (8) test have come back negative;

· Three (3) individuals who are symptomatic and waiting on testing;

· Twenty-nine (29) tests are still pending;

· Sixty-two (62) people are quarantined. We are following them closely with temperatures being taken twice day as well as checking for signs and symptoms.

Christian County Health Department Administrator Cindy Bilyeu says, “As COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise across the nation. We are relieved to report that Christian County has had only two (2) positive cases thus far. We understand that as time passes it will become more challenging to do recommended social distancing. Our numbers indicate that Christian County residents are doing a good job in following guidance, and it is very much appreciated. Please continue to stay diligent.”

The Christian County Health Department strongly recommends:

· No gatherings of ten (10) or more people;

· Stay informed with information from the CDC;

· Practice social distancing;

· Wash your hands and practice good hand hygiene.

If you are sick, call your physician. If you don’t have a physician, call the state hotline: 877-435-8411

Posted March 21st, 2020 at 4:20 pm

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has issued the following order announced by Governor Mike Parson on Saturday March 21st. This order goes into effect on Monday March 23rd and stays in effect until April 6th.

1. In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than ten (10) people. For purposes of this Order, “social gatherings” shall mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than ten (10) people in a single space at the same time.

2. In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid eating or drinking at restaurants, bars, or food courts; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options is allowed throughout the duration of this Order.

3. In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, people shall not visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance.

4. In accordance with the guidelines from the President and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, schools shall remain closed.

This Order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as necessary precautions are taken and maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including maintaining at least six feet (6’) of distance between all individuals that are not family members. For offices and workplaces that remain open, individuals shall practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVID-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this Order will expire.

This Order shall be in effect beginning 12:01 A.M. Monday, March 23, 2020, and shall remain in effect until 12:01 A.M. Monday, April 6, 2020, unless extended by further order of the Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services with said extensions not to exceed the duration of the effective period of Executive Order 20-02 (May 15, 2020).

PREVENTION METHODS

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms are reported to range from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed cases, according to the CDC.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

Emergency Warning Signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

CDC warns that this list is not all inclusive, and recommends to consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

6 Ways to Prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Put distance between yourself and others
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a mask if you are sick or you are caring for someone who is sick

Additional Resources:

If you are immunocompromised, a person with disabilities, or an older individual, and are therefor considered higher-risk for COVID-19, the Administration for Community Living has created a page for what you need to know; please access it through the link below. The CDC also has a page dedicated to higher-risk individuals linked below.