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Mayor Carrie Tergin on Friday endorsed the public health warning and guidance released by Gov. Mike Parson and his administration the day before in an effort to get the public and local authorities throughout the state to act to bring down rising coronavirus infection numbers.

Cole County falls within the top "extreme risk" category of three categories Parson gave to designate counties' status when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, based on seven-day test positivity and seven-day case rates.

Tergin announced in a news release from city government that she "fully endorses the State Public Warning and calls for all citizens and businesses of Jefferson City to carefully and vigilantly follow the guidance set forth in the State Public Health Warning."

That warning states, "If we do not slow the spread of the virus, we risk having our health care systems overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients," and threatens everyone's well-being — not just COVID-19 patients, first responders and health care workers, but anyone who needs health care, from emergency trauma to treatment for other illnesses.

Local hospitals are feeling the strain, too, and officials Thursday urged people in the county to take precautions over the coming holidays.

The Jefferson City Council also on Monday endorsed the Cole County and city advisory that the two entities jointly issued Nov. 12.

Tergin called on everyone to stay home when sick, distance from others outside their households, limit gatherings to promote social distancing, avoid gatherings where social distancing cannot be maintained, wear a mask if not able to physically distance or avoid gatherings, work from home, offer low-contact shopping options such as curbside and delivery service and increase seating between people in restaurants.

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The guidance released by the Parson administration advises that a county at extreme risk like Cole County should limit business occupancy to promote social distancing; limit gatherings beyond normal business activities, religious services, school and school activities and family gatherings to 10 people or less; and strongly advise masks be worn in all offices and businesses where social distancing is not possible.

Tergin said Friday: "I believe the State Public Health Warning provides the necessary tools to protect each other; it's up to each of us to put those tools to use in our everyday lives."

"In addition to thinking about protecting themselves and their families, everyone needs to also think about how they can take the necessary steps to protect their friends, co-workers, customers, and even the strangers they interact with while out in the community," she said.

She said: "Not since the early days of the pandemic has the need to 'flatten the curve' and prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming our hospitals and medical facilities been so critical.

"The capacity of our community's medical infrastructure, especially the capacity of our medical staff, is at a breaking point. It is up to each and every person and business within Jefferson City to heed the warning and help ensure that every person in need of medical care, COVID or not, will have access to the facilities and professionals necessary to provide that care."

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