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County Health Director Advocates For Strong Action To Slow COVID-19; County Commission Approves Guidelines

The three counties surrounding Ste. Genevieve County apparently have their first cases of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, as of this past weekend, while Ste. Genevieve County had yet to report a positive test.
Nonetheless, Ste. Genevieve County Health Department director Sandra Bell met with the County Commission again on Monday seeking to place stronger rules in place than the state of Missouri had done on Saturday.
Dr. Randall Williams, director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, issued an order on Saturday that included four areas. It called on Missourians to avoid social gatherings of 10 or more people; to avoid eating at bars or restaurants with the exception of those that provide drive-through, pickup or delivery; and not to visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes or assisted living homes. It also ordered that schools shall remain closed. The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday and remains in effect until 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 6.
The County Commission on Monday morning approved increased guidelines that included more stringent regulations. For example, it called for canceling all social gatherings regardless of the number of people and it called for restaurants to provide only curb-side or drive-through services and not allow customers to enter establishments for pickup.
Bell encouraged businesses that do remain open to offer times for senior citizens only to shop, as the elderly have been the most susceptible to the harshest forms of the coronavirus.

See complete story in the March 25 edition of the Herald.

State Order Issued On Saturday, March 21

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Heath and Senior Services, issued the following order on Saturday, March 21:
Local public health authorities are being directed to carry out and enforce the provisions of this Order by means of civil proceedings. Provisions of this order are outlined below.
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 10 people. For purposes of this Order, “social gatherings” shall mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than 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 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, and shall remain in effect until 12:01 a.m Monday, April 6, 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).

County Guidelines Issued On Monday, March 23

In response to recent evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in surrounding counties, we have identified the need to take action to limit social interaction and safeguard our community.
Through a collaborative effort between the Ste Genevieve County commissioners and the Ste Genevieve County Health Department, and with the support of community leaders the following increased guidelines are recommended effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24:
— Cancel all social gatherings regardless of the number of people meeting together.
— Stay home leaving only for essential tasks, taking a limited number of family members out.
— If at all possible, work from home. If not possible, restrict stops during your travel to and from work to only essential missions.
— Limit contact with elderly as much as possible while providing assistance with needed services and supplies utilizing universal precautions and distance.
— Essential services remain open with limitations to the number of people allowed in the facility at one time, and/or providing restricted hours for the senior population to utilize services without exposure to the general population.
— Food and beverage establishments limit services to drive through or curbside services only.
— Public meetings be rescheduled, or done via teleconferencing. Limit public participation in meetings by making arrangements for written statements to be accepted from the public regarding pertinent issues.
— Keep children of all ages in the home environment to discourage social gatherings. Encourage electronic methods of communication to stay in touch with friends.
This was not, by any means, an easy decision. We understand this is disruptive, inconvenient and stressful. We appreciate the cooperation of the Ste Genevieve County citizens to protect our community.