March 18, 2020
The St. Charles County Department of Public Health has been notified of the first positive test for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the county. The case is travel-related and the patient, a woman in her 20s, has been quarantined at home.
The St. Charles County Public Health Department currently is monitoring 191 people. While the CDC test criteria remains in place, private lab testing has been made available. In this case, the positive test was taken to a private lab.
In St. Charles County, there have been 10 people sent for testing; eight have been negative and two tests are pending. All are travel related. The department currently is monitoring 17 people for symptoms that are contacts to known cases.
“We have been monitoring individuals with symptoms and those who have traveled in areas where COVID-19 is prevalent,” says St. Charles County Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman. “We are not surprised that there is a case in our community because of the spread of the virus around the globe. It is important for residents to keep this in perspective and to continue social distancing and good hand-washing practices to help us keep the spread at a minimum.”
St. Charles County Public Health and hospital officials stress that residents should not panic and not go to hospital emergency rooms. “If you have symptoms, you should either call the County’s hotline number, or call your health care provider,” says Cianci-Chapman. “A screening call is necessary to start the testing process.”
Since the outbreak began in December, St. Charles County Public Health staff have been working with local, regional, state and federal agencies to keep up to date on details surrounding the virus and its spread. On Saturday, March 7, when it was announced that the first positive case of COVID-19 was found in St Louis County, St. Charles County officials activated the Incident Command System (ICS) to prepare for potential spread of the disease. Staff from multiple disciplines are working together at the County’s Emergency Operations Center to constantly monitor for cases in our area and are following protocol developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Communication is being issued to the public via the County website and social media outlets as new information becomes available.
“I cannot stress enough that, even as there are more positive cases found across the United States, the best prevention is social distancing and proper handwashing,” Cianci-Chapman says. “Additionally, staying away from others if you are ill, and avoiding contact with others who show symptoms: fever, dry cough or shortness of breath, will lessen the spread of this illness.”
For more information and precautions for COVID-19, as well as updates, when available, visit sccmo.org/COVID. Residents who show symptoms or have questions should call the St. Charles County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Information Hotline at 636-949-1899, which operates daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.