UPDATE 6-28-20: Why it is important to wear a cloth face covering:

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth face covering will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people (e.g., in stores and restaurants). Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

The cloth face coverings recommended here are not surgical masks or respirators. Currently, those are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. Cloth face coverings are not personal protective equipment (PPE). They are not appropriate substitutes for PPE such as respirators (like N95 respirators) or medical face-masks (like surgical masks) in workplaces where respirators or face-masks are recommended or required to protect the wearer.

UPDATE 5-7-20: Springfield and Greene County amend phase one of the “Road to Recovery” order, allowing more businesses to open and increasing the maximum number of people allowed for gatherings. Here’s the city’s news release: 

Springfield-Greene County leaders led Thursday’s news briefing with some cautious optimism. Springfield Mayor Ken McClure amended the City’s “Road to Recovery” order, effective immediately. The Greene County Commission is expected to vote on an amended order this afternoon.

City of Springfield amended Recovery Order

The changes increase the number of people allowed for public gatherings from 15 to 25.

The amendment also increases capacity of in-person religious services and allows “enhanced risk activities” such as the opening of bars, nightclubs, and microbrewery tap rooms and pools, and allows non-contact sports and fitness classes and other activities to resume, with the requirement of social distancing measures.

An “enhanced risk activity” is any business or non-business activity that enhances the risk of the spread of a communicable disease by bringing groups of people together to share the same space, indoors or outdoors, in close physical proximity for a period of time. The density of the group, combined with the duration of time spent together can increase the risk of exposure.

An essential business or non-essential business may provide an “enhanced risk activity,” at any one time for a particular facility (building, not room) given the lesser of:

• 25 total of customers and/or patrons

• The number of customers and/or patrons that can be present while strictly observing 6-feet and other social distancing standards.

The amendment defines “essential” an “non-essential” businesses, loosely based on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Enacting the amendment fulfills a promise from leaders to revisit restrictions in the City and County orders in light of increasingly positive community indicators.

Recent testing of nearly 200 asymptomatic front line and essential workers in Greene County turned up zero positive cases of COVID-19. In addition, another nearly 800 test results from asymptomatic front line and essential workers in the surrounding counties of Taney and Phelps, were encouraging signs, according to Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard.

Goddard said the measures tracked on a local COVID-19 data dashboard help guide the community and local government leaders in knowing and deciding when to safely take further steps to open the local economy.

This dashboard covers five areas, including:

  • detailed case information, including total and daily cases based on a person’s onset of symptoms and active, deceased and resolved cases.
  • hospital capability, which is based on hospital staffing, supplies and space available to respond to COVID-19.
  • public health capability, which is based on the capability to conduct epidemiological interviews and contact tracing, and risk pertaining to unmitigated community exposure for COVID-19.
  • testing capability, which measures the estimated community testing capability for COVID-19. The index is based on the available testing and result turnaround time.
  • regional data information, which measures the estimated public health capability and testing capability for surrounding counties.

Goddard announced that early to mid-week next week, officials will roll out a recovery plan with additional details regarding continued reopening phases throughout the summer. These phases will be considered on a bi-weekly basis in light of current dashboard indicators.

The community dashboard can be accessed at http://health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus and is updated twice a day.

“As our community continues recovery, it is important that we know how the disease is moving through our population,” Goddard says. “Having a large number of negative test results is reassuring. As we expand our capacity, including CoxHealth and Mercy doing more in-house testing, we expect to learn even more in the coming days. We will continue to update our data.”

color-coded chart details the amendments and guidance for specific groups and types of businesses can be found at springfieldmo.gov/coronavirusresponse. For more information about COVID-19, visit health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus, email coronavirus@springfieldmo.gov, or call 417-874-1211.

Archived video of this announcement and past COVID-19 news is available at: https://cityview.springfieldmo.gov/.

UPDATE 4-27-20: CDC officially adds several symptoms of COVID-19:

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
When to Seek Medical Attention

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

CDC Guidance On Face Coverings: CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

This recommendation complements and does not replace the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spreadexternal icon, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  CDC will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.

UPDATE: Change in guidance for those with COVID-19

Guidance is changing for those with COVID-19 under home isolation regarding when they may discontinue home isolation. This decision should be made in the context of local circumstances.

In addition to the test-based strategy, an additional option now includes a time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery (non-test-based) strategy.

People can discontinue home isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Previous recommendations for a test-based strategy remain applicable (two negative test results from specimens collected at least 24 hours apart); however, a test-based strategy is contingent on the availability of ample testing supplies and laboratory capacity as well as convenient access to testing. Additional information related to the new guidance can be found on the DHSS website.

Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that had not previously been identified in humans. A coronavirus is a virus that can cause respiratory illness ranging from the common cold to more severe illness such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Our public health system—both local, national, and international, is well-practiced with these types of respiratory viruses.

In the United States, we have started to see community spread of this virus and have implemented an aggressive public health response. However, the immediate health risk for the general public in the U.S. is still considered low.

For more information from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services regarding the Coronavirus, CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions and would like to speak to someone directly, feel free to call the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services Hotline, open now, at 877-435-8411!