Here you will find all the current answers to the most frequently asked questions that we are getting during this time, hopefully, this will answer some of your own questions.
Thank you for your flexibility, your patience and your grace as we navigate our evolving response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with common symptoms similar to the flu, which include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. With more than 100 active investigations across the nation, there has only been one patient under investigation in Missouri who tested negative for novel coronavirus. The Seattle Times recently published a very helpful and easy-to-understand fact sheet about the virus: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/facts-about-novel-coronavirus-and-how-to-prevent-covid-19/
This is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include cough, fever, and/or difficulty breathing. The degree of severity of these symptoms varies. This disease can cause pneumonia. There have been deaths from this illness. However, most cases (80%) do not appear to be severe. People may experience symptoms similar to a cold or the flu.
Like MERS and SARS, COVID-19 closely resembles coronaviruses found in bats but not humans. Scientists believe that the bat virus had a change in its genes that permitted it to spread to humans, possibly via an intermediate carrier (snakes) in an animal market in Wuhan, China. Early on, it is difficult to know the exact source of the virus, how well it spreads from person to person, and how severe the infection is. The virus can be transmitted from person to person via droplets that come from the nose or mouth when we cough or sneeze. Those droplets can directly enter the nose, mouth or eyes of a person standing close by, or they can be indirectly transmitted by hands and inanimate objects.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact like shaking hands, or touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has established a dedicated website that also links to information from the CDC, for those seeking more information about this novel coronavirus. We urge all families to continue the practice of maintaining healthy behaviors necessary during any cold and flu season. These include but are not limited to:
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available
• Cover nose and mouth with a sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
• Bump elbows rather than shaking hands when greeting others
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
• Stay home when you are sick
If regular hand washing isn’t possible, the next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or sanitizer wipes, with 60% alcohol. Continue to encourage regular hand washing at home and good hygiene habits.
Childcare and coverage for working parents will be a challenge. If you are able, offer to watch other people’s children (while practicing good social distancing).