Document: Cole County and Jefferson City COVID-19 AdvisoryView
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If a person at a K-12 school is diagnosed with COVID-19 and someone else is exposed, but both are correctly wearing masks, the exposed person will not need to quarantine, according to a new policy Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday.
Parson said the move is one to promote sustainability in the months ahead — in other words, trying to keep as many students doing in-person learning as possible.
The move is also essentially a carrot to encourage schools to have a mask mandate in place — as the federal government has recommended that K-12 schools do — though that still will not be a statewide requirement.
Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven told a reporter that a number of schools have already chosen to require masks, "and we're using this policy to encourage them even further."
Parson later said most people in the state are already under a mandate, and he again resisted a statewide measure.
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He said lessening the number of school students who have to be quarantined may also help reduce staffing stresses on hospitals, letting students' health care provider, parents, avoid having to stay home to watch them.
That still doesn't really affect the COVID-19 caseloads that are stretching hospitals' resources, but Parson said "the quick thing that we can do is try to make every available health care worker we have in the state — to be able to figure out how we can get boots on the ground, how can we get them back in the health care system," whether through using retired workers or nursing students.
He added that, in the long-term, an increase in available health care workers from expanded nursing programs in the state would also help.
Cole County, Jefferson City issue COVID-19 advisory
Saying it's not mandate, Cole County and Jefferson City elected officials issued a COVID-19 advisory Thursday morning, asking the public to help to slow the spread of the virus.
The Cole County Commission approved the advisory. Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said she had been involved in putting the document together and approved what it said.
The elected officials are asking residents to do six things:
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Keep physical distance from others outside of your household.
- Limit gatherings to a number that physical distancing can occur. Avoid gatherings where physical distancing can't be maintained.
- Wear a mask if you can't maintain physical distance.
- Encourage telecommuting and physical distancing within office buildings.
- Offer low-contact shopping methods, including curbside and delivery, and increase distance between seating in restaurants.
In the advisory, Tergin writes, "We want out businesses to stay open, and we have worked closely with our local hospitals and physicians in offering this guidance."
Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman emphasized the advisory does not include enforcement by the city or the county, and he asked residents to not call the county health department about enforcement of the advisory.