(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Late Friday afternoon the City of St. Joseph issued a reminder for residents to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 after a recent increase in cases.
In a press release, the City of St. Joseph Health Department said, "Throughout the month and until June 23rd, the trend line was consistently moving downward. The recent increase in new cases has officials concerned and serves as a reminder to the public to make personal decisions to maintain safe distancing and wear face coverings in public, and to continue increased hand washing/sanitizing."
Officials said the guidance on face masks has changed since the pandemic started, but the novel coronavirus being still just months old has scientists constantly learning more about it – including more reasons why wearing masks is so important.
"As our community opens doors to commerce and social gatherings, taking precautions when in public becomes critically important for the health and safety of residents. The mandates have changed, but the guidelines have not," the Health Department stated.
The health department officials warn that COVID-19 is spread mostly by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough or sneeze, "Personal prevention practices include handwashing, staying home when sick, maintaining six feet of distance between yourself and others, and wearing a cloth face covering."
St. Joseph City officials also shared some encouragement to local employers to implement additional safety and hygiene practices and to develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection. They add employers may also ask staff to wear a face mask when in common areas such as breakrooms.
This coronavirus is highly contagious. Without mitigation efforts like stay-at-home orders, each person with the coronavirus infects an average of two to three other people, making its reproductive number twice that of the flu.
Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when out in public. Continue to keep six feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for physical distancing.