Late yesterday, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health learned that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 is an employee of Circle K at 3700 Elm Street in St. Charles. The store closed voluntarily, and health department epidemiologists are investigating and screening known contacts.
In the meantime, the county has issued a release urging the public not to panic and offering advice on ways to minimize risk of exposure.
According to the release, brief encounters such as those that take place in environments such as convenience stores are less likely to result in the type of exposure that could potentially infect someone with COVID-19 . However, social distancing is critical. Maintaining a distance of 6 feet from one another and employing handwashing or hand sanitizer after transactions that involve the transfer of money or goods is extremely important.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: There are published reports and other evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can live on surfaces for days and potentially weeks. Surfaces and items touched by people with COVID-19, and even people without COVID-19, do contribute to the spread of the disease when those surfaces are not sanitized and/or hands are not cleaned.
The best way to prevent exposure is to remain at home as much as possible. Regularly washing one’s hands, refraining from touching one’s face and cleaning or sanitizing frequent touch surfaces such as cellphones, desktops, doorknobs and keyboards are important behaviors that can lessen risk.
While St. Charles County’s Department of Public Health is tracking persons who have tested positive, it is not possible for department staff to identify every person who may have entered Circle K in the past two or more weeks. Therefore, they are asking area residents who were in the store in the past two weeks, to monitor their own health.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as dry cough and fever, isolate yourself from others and call a healthcare provider.
According to the health department, people who visited the store but do not have symptoms do not need to self-quarantine unless they notice COVID-19 symptoms. Residents who have questions can call the St. Charles County Public Health Information Hotline at (636) 949-1899, or visit sccmo.org/COVID for more information.
The St. Charles County Department of Public Health follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html) for managing contacts of positive Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.