Treece: Boone County sees first COVID-19 case
COLUMBIA —Boone County has its first case of COVID-19, mayor Brian Treece confirmed at a news conference Tuesday night.
“We have planned for this to be prepared, but not panic,” Treece said. “We have coordinated with federal, state and local officials to ensure we are all in close communications about how we proceed.”
Treece said he was informed of the case Tuesday afternoon.
The patient is in their 60s and currently self-isolating until they are symptom-free and can test negative for the virus twice, Boone County Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning said.
She said the department was working to contact the people who had been in close proximity to the patient, who had traveled outside of the U.S. recently.
Browning signed an order limiting public gatherings to 50 people or half of the capacity of a building — whichever was smaller. The order applies to places like restaurants, retail food facilities, entertainment venues and gyms.
MU Health Care chief nursing officer Mary Beck said that the hospital was taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
“We're actively preparing for how our operations would change if we have an influx of patients, or even illness among our workers,” she said. “We're already taking additional steps to assess, test and treat potential patients to prevent further spread of the virus.”
Starting tomorrow, patients will be limited to one visitor at a time. Student clinical rotations are also on hold through March 31.
MU physician Mark Wakefield stressed the need to continue best practices like social distancing as the outbreak continues.
“One of my —and many physicians’ — concerns is that we’ll have a period of time between positive tests and we'll get complacent with the restrictions that are thought out and based on epidemiology that keep us from gathering,” Wakefield said. “Then we'll have a delayed increase in the number of cases.”
MU Health Care will begin drive-thru testing Wednesday for patients who meet CDC guidelines.
Treece said that the City of Columbia would provide day-to-day updates on the number of confirmed cases within the city and county as the outbreak continued.