Knox County Health Department Issues COVID-19 Alert to Local Businesses and Organizations

Knox County Business and Organization Covid-19 Alert 

By Lori Moots-Clair, KCHD Administrator

November 21, 2020 – Health department officials are alerting Knox County Businesses/Organizations that there is a high risk for Covid-19 transmission currently.  Our positivity rates have exceeded 36%, compared to state positivity rates of 23%.   Hospital based ER and in-patient testing continue to be a source of reporting for Knox County, as well as local urgent care centers.  Hospitals around us report increasing need for support, as well as limited in-patient capacity.  This along with high numbers of staff absence due to illness and symptomatic quarantine, presents a medical issue in our region.

Governor Mike Parson has issued a public health warning, indicating all gathering in all areas of Missouri should be limited to less than 10 in attendance when positivity rates are above 9%.  Public wearing of masks still appears to be at a low level, and it is imperative that businesses enforce this internally to protect not only their patrons, but also their staff.  We currently have no orders in place for masking, distancing, etc.  In the absence of orders, we make this request to those who do wish to help stop/slow the spread.

Starting now, we request that businesses and organizations utilize the following practices:

  • Consider work/participation from home options, increased distancing in the workplace, drive up and phone in services, on-line participation methods, etc.
  • We’d encourage restaurants and food service establishments to return to as many of the protective policies utilized in April/May 2020 as possible (including distancing/eliminated community seating, eliminating self-service items, etc.)—again this is not an order, but a REQUEST.
  • Maintain physical distance of a minimum of 6ft between you and all those you serve and make opportunities for clients/guests to have acceptable distancing between themselves as well.
  • Mandate the use of face masks when in your establishment.
  • Post hand washing, face mask and stay home if sick signs.
  • Wash your hands multiple times a day.
  • Make hand sanitizer accessible to employees and customers.
  • Avoid special events that encourage the congregation of multiple households.
  • Review sick leave policies and make sure employees/participants are aware of such policies.
  • Conduct your internal risk assessment and eliminate as many avenues for spreading of Covid-19 as possible.

Symptoms of Covid-19 may include any of the following:

  • Cough, Shortness of Breath, Difficulty Breathing
  • Fever or Chills
  • Headache or Muscle Aches.
  • Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • New Loss of Taste or Smell

Testing for Covid-19 does not change self-quarantine suggestions but may indicate need for isolation and further contact tracing if positive result is found.  Currently if you or yours are first line contacts of a positive case public health requests self-quarantining for 14 days and avoiding contact with anyone outside the household (essential employers should talk with their employees regarding protocols for Covid-19 positives and contacts).  Should symptoms arise, notify public health, and consider testing.

The participation of businesses and organizations in the county will be necessary to slow the spread of Covid-19 and to prevent subsequent morbidity and mortality in Knox County.  We appreciate your willingness to conduct your internal risk assessments, adjust as necessary and welcome your calls at any time to discuss further planning.  Call us at 660-397-3396