(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) State officials have created a hotline for Coronavirus-related questions.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the new helpline with the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) in a news release Wednesday.
The hotline is (877)-435-8411.
Dr. Randall Williams, the Director of DHSS, said the state was adding the hotline for people to call with concerns about illness during a rapidly evolving situation.
The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As of Wednesday, one of 46 patients in Missouri has tested positive for the virus.
On Saturday, Parson announced the first “presumptive-positive” case of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Missouri. The patient is a St. Louis County woman in her 20s who had recently traveled to Italy. She and her family are in self-quarantine.
In St. Joseph, Mosaic Life Care is testing six people for COVID-19. Dr. Mark Laney, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said Tuesday DHSS and the Centers for Disease Control approved Mosaic to test patients.
There are only nine test kits located in northwest Missouri as of Tuesday morning.
Hospitals and doctors are limited in their response because of the limited supply of kits, Laney said in a news conference Tuesday.
Laney added that because he can only test a fraction of hospital patients and he wants to limit the ability of the virus to spread, medical experts recommend calling your healthcare provider before heading into the facility.
The hotline will provide another avenue of screening.
“For those who may be at risk for COVID-19, we encourage them to utilize this hotline or call their health care provider or local public health agency to inform them of their travel history and symptoms,” Williams said. “They’ll be instructed on how to receive care without exposing others to the possible illness.”
According to the CDC, Coronavirus symptoms appear two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads, treatment and prevention tips.
Steps for prevention from the CDC include:
- Good hygiene practices like washing your hands for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after sneezing and coughing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Before and after touching your face wash your hands.
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with people who are sick.
More prevention tips can be found here.
If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.