COVID-19 sharp rise calls for community response, local health officials say

Parent Category: News Category: Crawford County News Written by Rob Viehman Hits: 1704

• Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, Crawford County Health Department, and Franklin County Health Department Join Forces to Increase Awareness and Decrease Spread of Illness

    As confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to increase rapidly in our area, leaders at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, the Crawford County Health Department and the Franklin County Health Department are asking for the community's support in helping to slow community spread of this virus.


    In the past week, Crawford and Franklin Counties have seen increases of confirmed cases of COVID- 19, and the rate of hospitalizations are rising as well. It is important to note these newly confirmed cases are the result of community spread.
    "We continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 cases in the counties we serve," said Tony Schwarm, President of Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital. "There are proven steps we can all take such as masking, frequent handwashing and respecting 6 feet social distancing. We need the community support to reduce transmission in our community and prevent impact on our local health  care resources."
    The single most effective prevention measure in the absence of a vaccine is wearing a mask to reduce the spread of the virus in community settings. Many people with COVID-19 have no symptoms and can spread the virus without even knowing they are infected. Wearing a mask can prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
    "The Franklin County Health Department is diligently working to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community," said Angie Hittson, Franklin County Health Department director. "An infected individual can pass the virus 48 hours before any symptoms are known. Therefore masking, hand washing, social distancing and quarantine for close contacts are so imperative. If you are sick, even if you believe it is 'just allergies,' stay home to ensure symptoms do not progress. For questions, contact your medical provider."
    Health officials are urging area residents to:
    • Avoid unnecessary socializing in groups that do not allow for social distancing.
    • Wear masks when unable to social distance.
    • Vulnerable persons should take strict precautions.
    • Eat healthy, exercise, and make sure you are taking time to rest and relax.
    • Continue to practice precautions: Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer; Avoid touching your face; Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow or shirt; Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
    "Good hand hygiene—using soap and water or hand sanitizer—and not touching your face can really make a difference," added Hittson.
    "As cases increase in Crawford County and surrounding areas, our neighbors, friends and loved ones are put at higher risk of illness, hospitalization and death. This also impacts our local hospital, health care providers and other community institutions" said Honor Evans, Crawford County Health Department administrator.
    "There are things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but it will take effort from everyone,'' said Evans. "Please stay home when you don't feel well and stay home after being tested for COVID-19. Wear a mask in public, continue to socially and physically distance, and work with your local public health department if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or identified as a close contact."
    It is important to remember a face mask is not a substitute for social distancing. Individuals should still stay six-feet away from others while wearing a mask to help reduce community spread.
    To learn more about ways you can help keep yourself and others safe, visit https://www.bjc.org/keepingyousafe and http://www.missouribaptistsullivan.com.