The Joplin Health Department today announces the fourth and fifth positive cases of COVID-19 within the city of Joplin. Both cases are adults who reside in Joplin within Jasper County. (Note: these cases are counted under Joplin on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.)
The fourth individual was not a travel-related case, and the fifth case is a contact of an individual who had previously tested positive for the virus.
To protect the patients’ right to privacy, identifying information will not be provided. As part of the regular practice of disease investigation, the Health Department will notify people who have had contact with the patients. If exposed, health officials will provide guidance to these individuals and monitor them closely for the development of symptoms.
“The additional case where no travel was involved does indicate that there is a community spread occurring within Joplin and the metro area,” said Dan Pekarek Health Director for the City. “This should serve as a strong reminder that we should all be staying at home as much as possible. When going out for essential functions, especially in areas where it is hard to maintain proper social distancing, we should assume there is the possibility of coming into contact with an individual that carries the virus.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever and shortness of breath. If symptoms do develop, seek medical attention. Contact your health care provider before you go see them and tell them about your symptoms and recent travel history.
A drive-through test site, operated by Freeman and Mercy hospitals, is also a possible testing site for persons with these symptoms. This test collection site is exclusively for patients who meet certain criteria that determine if a test is necessary. Anyone seeking a test must call ahead to be screened and, if approved, schedule a time to visit the drive-through testing site. The number for the screening call center is 417-347-6444.
While COVID-19 is spread from person to person, more than 80% of the patients who develop it will only become mildly ill. The concern is for patients with underlying medical conditions and the elderly, who are more likely to need hospital-level supportive care.
Guidance on considerations for COVID-19, as well as recommendations on other health practices if going out for essential activities can be found at www.joplinmo.org/coronavirus or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/ .