Public Health Administrator’s Message

Cooperation with contract tracing requests, face-mask usage sought

By Greg Lara, Gasconade County Health Department Administrator Director of Medicine, Hermann Area District Hospital
Posted 9/9/20

Over the last several weeks and months we have seen our case count increase and most notably over the last couple of weeks we have seen a sharp increase in numbers.

As of the prior weekend …

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Public Health Administrator’s Message

Cooperation with contract tracing requests, face-mask usage sought

Posted

Over the last several weeks and months we have seen our case count increase and most notably over the last couple of weeks we have seen a sharp increase in numbers.

As of the prior weekend (Sunday, Aug. 30) Gasconade was at the top of the list for 7-day percent increase in confirmed cases using PCR testing numbers. Our percent increase was 90 percent.

The next county closest to us was at 50 percent.

Yes, these numbers do reflect some of the cases from our nursing home testing protocols from late August.

We have also been notified of several more positive cases at a nursing home in Owensville. Preliminary numbers are five staff members and 11 residents have been tested as positive. The previous week the Stonebridge Senior Living facility in Hermann conducted a facility-wide COVID-19 testing. We had been notified of 27 confirmed positive residential cases and 17 confirmed positive employees.

Unfortunately, we have also seen several deaths due to covid-19 related issues as of now we are officially recording nine of these deaths as covid-19 related.

Yes, these individuals were elderly and did have underlying conditions that made it extremely difficult to overcome the effects of covid-19 virus, however, this is the terrible result of the virus’ affect on these individuals and their families.

As we go through this difficult period, we would like to ask for everyone’s cooperation, whether you are a positive case or possibly considered a close contact. Chances are you probably know this before we do and it may be several hours or possibly even days before we receive official notification.

So, if you know you are a positive case or a close contact please don’t wait for us to call you. Take it upon yourself to quarantine yourself and we will eventually contact you if you have been identified as such. If you are not sure give us a call to see if you are on our list of contacts.

We also ask to please cooperate with the person that calls you to review your case or quarantine status.

We understand that this is very stressful and frightening when in this situation. Please do your best to answer any questions we have for you and follow the instructions given. We have had numerous instances of individuals refusing to follow instructions, or even answer the phone.

We are doing this not only to protect you but also the community. When you fail to follow precautions, you are jeopardizing everyone in the community.

Face-mask usage has been a hot topic no matter what side of the isle you’re on. Anywhere from “everyone should wear one everywhere no matter what” to “nobody’s going tell me I have to wear one.”

I understand all of this, but please keep in mind a face-mask is not an end-all, fix-all for this virus but it has shown they can be effective in slowing the spread of the virus used with other mitigation efforts. 

One thing that most experts will say is that mask usage in combination with other mitigation activities (distancing, time, hygienic practices, staying home when ill, staying away from large crowds, etc.) will reduce the potential for the spread of the covid-19 virus.

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