For more news about the COVID-19 coronavirus, access the News Tribune Health section.
As a News Tribune reader, you've had a lot of information to digest recently. Let us take this opportunity to distill the two most important things for you to know at this time:
Please, if possible, stay at home.
If you have returned from traveling outside Missouri, quarantine yourself for 14 days.
Those are the simple pleas we would like to reiterate from area health officials and leaders who are working long hours (notice we didn't say feverishly) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"All individuals currently living within Cole County are encouraged to stay at home or at their place of residence unless for essential activities, essential government functions, or to operate essential businesses and operations," the Cole County Health Department has advised.
As we write this, Cole County has seven cases of COVID-19. All but one can be traced to people who have traveled outside of Missouri and got sick after their return, said Kristi Campbell, Cole County's health director.
As we write this, 17 states have stay-at-home orders, covering about half the nation's population. Missouri does not. Some Missouri counties, such as Boone, have stay-at-home orders. Cole County does not.
While our two pleas are simple, we realize they aren't simple to comply with. In any other situation, we likely would be calling them draconian, even oppressive, ourselves.
In this case, unless most of us comply with strong advice, rather than an order, efforts to knock down this wicked disease won't be effective.