On Monday, June 15, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann announced that the county would follow Phase 2 of the state’s “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan that went into effect Tuesday, June 16.
While Phase 2 effectively lifts all previous restrictions mandated by the state, individual businesses can continue to implement precautions for operations within their establishment as they deem necessary. Beyond that, county officials have suggested that social distancing, avoiding large crowds, wearing face coverings in public settings, and frequently washing hands and surfaces and other precautions are strongly encouraged and recommended as the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
“Everyone who lives and works in St. Charles County has taken extraordinary steps to protect our community against the spread of COVID-19,” Ehlmann said in a press statement. “We appreciate the sacrifices made and celebrate the fact that these efforts have been successful in saving lives and limiting the spread of illness in this county.”
Community-wide testing offered at two St. Charles County locations last month resulted in 1,762 county residents being tested. According to county officials, only 13 positive tests were returned, resulting in a positive test rate of just 0.7 percent.
Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman said the department is closely monitoring for any resurgence, particularly in long-term care facilities, which were among the hardest-hit in the first wave of the coronavirus. The department now has its own testing contract and will be able to test all suspected positives and persons with whom they have come in contact. This is especially important with people returning to normal activities because the number of contacts likely will increase for each person with confirmed COVID-19.
Even though restrictions will be lifted in Phase 2, the county health department recommends that residents continue:
- Practicing social distancing in public settings – maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and avoiding large group settings.
- Wearing a mask when in public and unable to socially distance.
- Washing hands and commonly touched surfaces often throughout the day.
- Staying home and avoiding others when sick or if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Additionally, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued recommendations for nursing homes and congregate care facilities on June 16. Cianci-Chapman noted that St. Charles County will be following DHSS-issued guidelines and will revise current county orders to reflect these recommendations.
For more information on COVID-19 and St. Charles County’s efforts to reduce the spread of illness, visit sccmo.org/COVID. Residents who are concerned about potential exposure to the disease or who would like testing information should speak with their medical provider or call the St. Charles County COVID-19 Information Hotline at (636) 949-1899 for guidance.