JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a public health warning Thursday that encourages Missouri residents and businesses to comply with public health guidelines.

According to the warning, individuals who are able are encouraged to abide by these guidelines:

  • Wear a mask at all times in public and other settings outside your home where social distancing is not possible.
  • Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet wherever possible, and limit close contacts with other individuals to less than 15 minutes.
  • Wash hands multiple times a day.
  • Stay home when sick or if you have symptoms. Self-isolate from other family members.
  • As much as possible, limit your regular interactions to a small group (<10) of family members, friends, and/or co-workers if living in a Category 1 or 2 community

The warning also includes specific guidelines for anyone traveling over the holiday season:

  • Minimize travel outside of Missouri. If traveling outside the state, please follow all guidance and requirements for your destination. Upon return, take as many precautions as possible, wear a mask, and monitor symptoms.
  • If planning travel for gatherings during the holidays, especially those including individuals at high risk, encourage all people to self-isolate or isolate as family units as much as practicable in advance of any such gathering.
  • Do not attend any gatherings, family or otherwise, if you have any symptoms.

In addition to implementing the recommendations for individuals, businesses are also urged to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Modify physical workspaces to maximize and maintain social distancing.
  • Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan, including policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Symptomatic people should not physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
  • Develop, implement, and communicate about workplace flexibilities and protections, including:
    • Encouraging telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations;
    • Working in phases and/or split shifts, if possible;
    • Limiting access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact; and
    • Ensuring that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.

Finally, the warning includes guidelines for local government advisories, to be used to determine the strictness of regulations in a county depending on how high the risk of widespread infection in that county is.

The most strict category a county can be placed under is extreme risk, under which Cole County currently falls, followed by critical risk and serious risk. 

The warning was released in conjunction with Gov. Mike Parson’s decision Thursday to extend the state of emergency in Missouri through March.

In a news release Friday, Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin stated her support for the recommendations outlined in the public health warning and urged Jefferson City residents to abide by them. 

“In addition to thinking about protecting themselves and their families, everyone needs to also think about how they can take the necessary steps to protect their friends, co-workers, customers, and even the strangers they interact with while out in the community,” Mayor Tergin said in the release. “I believe the State Public Health Warning provides the necessary tools to protect each other; it’s up to each of us to put those tools to use in our everyday lives.”

The positivity rate in Cole County from Nov. 13 to Nov. 19 was 27.58, and the positivity rate in the county since the start of the pandemic is 10.72 as of Thursday.

For a full look at the Public Health Advisory, click here.

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