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Springfield-Greene County Health Department News Releases

Posted on: March 9, 2020

Mar. 9, 2020 - Health Department urges high risk individuals take COVID-19 precautions

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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is urging those who are at high risk for COVID-19, the illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, to begin taking precautions now to prevent the spread of illness.

There continues to be ZERO cases of COVID-19 in Greene County, but because the illness seems to affect high risk individuals particularly hard, people in those groups should start taking action now to limit activity around big groups of people. We recommend staying at home as often as possible to reduce the potential for exposure.

In regard to COVID-19, people considered high risk include:

  • Adults 60+
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
    • Cancer
  • A chronic medical condition in this scenario would include any condition that lasts more than six months and limits daily activities or requires ongoing monitoring or treatment.

These groups have been identified because of the significantly higher fatality rate associated with this illness. For instance, among those who had an underlying heart condition, the fatality rate in China was 10.5%, compared to 0.9% for the overall population.

It is the recommendation of the Health Department that people who match these criteria take enhanced precautions to get ready now for COVID-19. This includes:

  • Stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel
    • Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people.
    • Consider alternative ways of getting food and supplies brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks or by using delivery or pick up services at stores.
  • Have a plan if you get sick (fever, shortness of breath, cough):
    • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your personal health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
    • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
    • Determine who can provide you with care and bring supplies if your caregiver gets sick.
  • Have supplies on hand
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
    • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Take everyday precautions
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Take everyday preventive actions
      • Clean your hands often
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
      • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
      • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
      • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
      • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
      • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

This guidance and the latest information available to our community on COVID-19 is available at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus by email at coronavirus@springfieldmo.gov; and by phone at 417-874-1211.

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