At this time, there have not been any positive tests of COVID 19 in Newton County, however, our neighbors to the east in Greene County have seen several presumptive positive cases. Currently there are two methods of non-pharmaceutical interventions for COVID 19: social distancing and excellent hygiene.
Precautions are being taken by Newton County to help mitigate the spread of COVID 19.
Following White House and CDC recommendations, and after consulting with other local and state officials Newton County has closed the Historic Courthouse to the public until further notice. Newton County Central Dispatch Center and Emergency Operations Center, are also closed to the public until further notice. The Judicial Center will remain open however, per Missouri Supreme Court guidelines, all in-person appearances are postponed.
Critical services are NOT being discontinued. We are simply closing the buildings to encourage the necessary social distancing. Those citizens with business critical needs are encouraged to contact the respective elected official, by phone, to facilitate the service.
Dr. Brix with the Presidential COVID 19 Task Force advised to expect to see dramatic increases in the next 3-4 days of positive COVID 19 tests. This is due to working through the backlog of samples. Dr. Brix also stressed that by early next week the COVID 19 Task Force expects to have a more reflective picture of this epidemic community by community, county by county, and State by State.
Vice President Pence stressed the importance for communities to practice social distancing BEFORE we see patients in emergency rooms. If we as a Nation act now, we can significantly limit the reach of COVID 19 over the coming weeks and months.
In addition to the State Health Lab, there are numerous private labs in the State working to expand COVID 19 tests, which will drastically increase the number of tests being conducted by April 1st. Consequently, over the next few weeks as more test results come back, we anticipate we will see the numbers of COVID 19 cases rise, hence the importance of social distancing and excellent hygiene now, to mitigate the impact.
Social distancing and hygiene cannot be stressed enough through the next two weeks. If we can do this right during that time, it will help greatly. Many younger patients are asymptomatic or display very mild symptoms, and there is a potential COVID 19 could have been circulating at a low level for a couple of weeks.
Newton County understands the concerns surrounding our local stores and wants all citizens to know the food chain in the United States is solid, there are no food shortages in the United States.