21 hours ago

Webster County Health Unit

For those of you without audio, here's the script of today's live message from Webster County Health Unit Administrator Terre Banks:

Hello everyone! I’m Terre Banks from the Webster County Health Unit. Thank you for joining me today.

I’d like to start out this morning by telling you that we have some good news to share. One of the three patients that was being monitored for COVID-19 has completely recovered and medically cleared! We still have two patients who are being monitored and are on their way to recovery. We are blessed, that as a county, we have had no hospitalizations or deaths from COVID-19.

Today’s numbers for Webster County are:
Total tested 132
Total negative results 123
Total positive results 3 (one has fully recovered and medically cleared)
Total pending 9
Total monitoring 4 (being monitored for symptoms)
These numbers change daily as we get new results and those who were being monitored passed their 14 day self-isolation period without developing COVID-19.

As we come to learn more about the disease, I thought I’d share with you a little bit about this particular type of virus. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960’s, and there are seven that have been identified by the CDC. A couple that you may remember are MERS and SARS.

MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, was first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012; and spread most likely from an infected person through respiratory droplets. CDC still does not fully understand the precise way MERS is spread.

SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, was recognized as a global threat in March 2003, after first appearing in Southern China in November 2002; and primarily spread by close person-to-person contact by respiratory droplets.

SARS-CoV-2, the novel (or new) coronavirus, causes coronavirus disease 2019, more commonly referred to as COVID-19. So, when public health officials are testing, we’re looking for the presence of the virus, SARS-CoV-2.

As I’m sure by now you have heard how COVID-19 is spread:
• Open coughing and sneezing
• Close personal contact such as touching, hugging, shaking hands
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands

This is why when we’re recommending everyone to:
• wash their hands frequently
• cover their coughs and sneezes
• maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from the next person
• clean surfaces around them frequently
• don’t touch your face with unwashed hands, and
• don’t hug or shake hands
it’s because it’s directly related to the way COVID-19 is spread.

On Monday of this week, Dr. Stevan Whitt, Chief Clinical Officer of MU Healthcare reported to the State that we now have more people in recovery than we have new infections. He attributed this, in great part, to our vigilance as a state in following guidelines for social distancing.

Regarding the state’s ‘Stay at Home’ order, Governor Parson and Dr. Whitt said that ‘Stay at Home’ doesn’t mean stay inside. They have encouraged Missourians to:
• Get outdoors, go for walks, get some exercise
• Avoid groups of more than 10 and keep your distance from others at least 6 feet
• Go fishing, gardening, do some yardwork, etc.
They followed this up by letting us know that “Simply going outside or riding in a car does not warrant the necessity of wearing a mask. Being outside is good for us.”

While we’re starting to see some positive news, this is the time to remain vigilant and really stay on top of the preventive measures that we’ve been talking about for weeks now. You might even have these memorized but more importantly, you’re doing these:
- Staying at home as much as possible.
- Limiting social interactions to those that are absolutely necessary.
- Maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others.
- Washing your hands frequently throughout the day, for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. For those times that you’re not able to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes if possible. If you have to, be sure to wash your hands both before and after.
- Since we’re still learning about the virus, and how long it can live on surfaces, frequent disinfecting of touched surfaces is critically important. Things like doorknobs, kitchen counters, sinks, toilets, and desks should be cleaned daily. Most household disinfectants will work, and if you don’t have any available, you can make your own by diluting 1/3 cup of bleach in a gallon of water.

If you become sick and exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 (a temperature 100.4 or greater, dry cough, and difficulty breathing), it’s time to seek medical help. Call, before going to see your doctor or showing up at the emergency department. In many cases, you could arrange for a virtual visit through CoxHealth which are being offered for free on their website.

In closing, we’ll continue to keep you posted on our Facebook page. Now’s not the time to let our guards down. We have to stay engaged and keep being individually responsible.

If you have questions or concerns, the State is continuing to maintain their 24/7 COVID-19 hotline. That number is 877-435-8411. You’ll be speaking to Department of Health and Senior Services staff who have the most current information available. That number again is 877-435-8411. Or you can call the Health Unit at 417-859-2532.

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As an update, Webster County's first positive COVID-19 case has completely recovered and been medically cleared! Stay vigilant, and please plan on joining Terre Banks, Webster County Health Unit Administrator, tomorrow at 11:00am on Facebook Live for more information. ...

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Isolation from friends and family, job loss and death are challenges we’re all facing during these days of COVID-19. You are not alone. COVID-19 is affecting families across the world.

We encourage you to stay connected with your loved ones while practicing physical distancing. It’s important that you support one other during this difficult time, especially if your loved one may be facing a mental health concern.

Use tips from the Mental Health First Aid curriculum to reach out to someone who might need you.
1. Treat the person with respect and dignity. Listen nonjudgmentally and respect the person’s privacy and confidentiality.
2. Offer consistent emotional support and understanding. In difficult times, we all need additional love and understanding. Remember to be empathetic, compassionate and patient.
3. Have realistic expectations. Accept the person as they are. Tough times can make it harder than usual to do everyday activities like cleaning the house, paying bills or feeding the dog.
4. Give the person hope. Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, they will feel better and there is hope for a more positive future.
5. Provide practical help. Offer help with overwhelming tasks but be careful not to take over or encourage dependency. For example, offer to bring groceries over.
6. Offer information. Provide information and resources for additional support, including self-help strategies and professional help.

Several tips for what not to do are:
1. Don’t tell someone to “snap out of it” or to “get over it.”
2. Don’t adopt an overinvolved or overprotective attitude toward someone who is depressed.
3. Don’t use a patronizing tone of voice or a facial expression that shows an extreme look of concern.
4. Don’t ignore, disagree with or dismiss the person’s feelings by attempting to say something positive like, “You don’t seem that bad to me.”

Many health professionals believe self-help strategies can be helpful when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. It is a good idea to discuss the appropriateness of specific strategies with a mental health professional. Some strategies include:
1. Self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Researchers have sought to develop a CBT-based guided self-help intervention that may prove useful for adults with intellectual disability in addition to depression or other mental health challenges for which CBT has been shown to be helpful.
2. Computerized therapy. Self-help treatment programs delivered over the internet or on a computer; some are available free of charge.
3. Relaxation training. Teaching a person to relax voluntarily by tensing and relaxing muscle groups; some programs are available for free online.
4. Complementary therapies. Scientific studies of complementary therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, exercise and dietary supplements have shown that these therapies do make a difference for depression.

If you’re still not sure what to do, reach out to your primary care physician. This person can help you with determining the best next steps for mental health support strategies, resources or treatments.

Help is available 24/7 by contacting the Burrell Behavioral Health Crisis Line at 800-494-7355 or texting MOSAFE to 741-741.

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Community Health Is Our Mission

Welcome to the Webster County Health Unit!

Public health touches every person every day. From clean air and water to safe food to immunizations that protect us from disease, our staff provide excellent, customer focused, confidential programs and services at little to no cost.

We make it our mission to preserve and protect public health in our community.

We are a local public health agency, a Missouri political subdivision, and tax exempt as a government organization. Our annual operating budget is approximately $900,000 with income from personal property tax, state and federal grants and fees for service. Services are provided to all Webster County residents without discrimination and no one is denied services due to an inability to pay.

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