COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that had not previously been identified in humans. A coronavirus is a virus that can cause respiratory illness ranging from the common cold to more severe illness such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). In the United States, we have started to see community spread of this virus and have implemented an aggressive public health response.
Number of confirmed City of Joplin COVID-19 cases: 1
Number of cases includes presumptive positives.
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. Protect yourself and others with these tips:
- Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick and practice social distancing of at least six feet from others.
- Wash your hands often.
- Especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If you are sick:
- Stay home
- Practice good respiratory hygiene (cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash)
- Wash hands often
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects often using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe (click here for the EPA’s list of cleaning agents tested for use against the novel coronavirus)
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- Face masks are not recommended to protect people who are well from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases
- Face masks are also crucial for healthcare workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility)
Who is at higher risk of illness?
- Older adults (60+ years old)
- People who have serious chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease
- People who have compromised immune systems, like cancer patients
Preparation for at-risk groups:
- Stay home. Take extra measures to keep distance between yourself and other people.
- Avoid unecessary travel
- Stay in touch with friends and family by phone or email
- Consider alternative ways of getting food and supplies to your house, such as pick-up services, delivery services, or having supplies brought to your house by friends or family
- Have a plan if you get sick.
- Talk to your doctor for more information about monitoring your personal health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
- Determine who can provide you with care and bring supplies if needed
- Have supplies on hand. If COVID-19 reaches our community, you may need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. Prepare for this possibility by making sure you have things you will need, such as:
- Extra prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications and other medical supplies (such as tissues) to treat fever and other symptoms
- Other household items and groceries
- Take everyday precautions.
- Wash your hands and clean surfaces in your home often
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth
- Avoid touching surfaces in public places: use a tissue or sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something, such as an elevator button. Wash hands after coming into contact with such surfaces
- Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs.
- Contact your doctor if you feel like you are developing symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath
- If you develop any of the severe symptoms below for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
For more information, visit the CDC website at the following address: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should I seek medical care?
If you have traveled to a community that has been impacted by COVID-19 in the past 14 days AND have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider before you go to tell them about your symptoms and recent travel history.
How is COVID-19 spread?
There is still much to learn about how this novel coronavirus is spread. It is thought to spread between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected coughs or sneezes.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It is important to remember that these symptoms are common in many illnesses like the flu and common cold.
At this time there are no vaccines, cures, or preventative products for COVID-19. Treatment for COVID-19 is limited to supportive care, similar to other respiratory viruses that are encountered.
Should I be wearing a face mask?
Face masks are NOT recommended to protect yourself from COVID-19. Here’s why:
- Most face masks are not adequate protection against a respiratory virus.
- Most individuals do not know how to properly use a face mask in order to protect themselves from disease.
- Using a face mask will only give you a false sense of security and make it easy to forget other, more effective forms of disease prevention like social distancing and hand washing.
Face masks ARE recommended if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or another respiratory illness, in order prevent the spread of disease to others. Face masks are also crucial for healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.
What does isolation mean? What does quarantine mean?
Isolation and quarantine are both used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or who may be sick.
- "Isolation" refers to separating a sick person from others.
- "Quarantine" refers to separating people who are not sick, but may have been exposed to an illness, from others.
You can read more about the distinction between these terms here.
What about international students?
Nationality is not a risk factor for COVID-19. An individual is only considered at risk for this illness if they or a very close contact have recently traveled to an area impacted by COVID-19, regardless of race.