The Polk County Health Center along with community partners, Polk County Emergency Management, Citizens Memorial Hospital, Southwest Baptist University, City of Bolivar and Polk County Public Safety Departments, and local school districts are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving events related to the coronavirus disease. We are preparing to carry out necessary steps in the event of any possible community impacts. Although there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Polk County or Missouri, we will continue to work with healthcare providers and public safety partners to determine what support may be needed in the coming days and weeks as the situation continues to develop. The health and safety of our community is of utmost importance.

We know this is a stressful time and people want to know what they can do right now to protect themselves and their families. We recommend the following everyday health safety and preparedness steps that people in our community can take now in response to coronavirus concerns.

LIMIT THE SPREAD OF GERMS AND PREVENT INFECTION

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does NOT recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
    • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

GET YOUR HOUSEHOLD READY

There are things you can do right now to be ready for any emergency, and many of these same tips will help you prepare as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve in the U.S.

  • Have a supply of food staples and household supplies like laundry detergent and bathroom items, and diapers if you have small children.
  • Check to make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, and have other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
  • Learn how your children’s school or daycare, and your workplace will handle a possible outbreak. Create a plan in the event of any closings, event cancellations or postponements.
  • If you care for older adults or children, plan and prepare for caring for them, should they or you become sick.
  • Help family members and neighbors get prepared and share the safety messaging with those who may not have access to it.


According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have the disease or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the disease.

Follow the Polk County Health Center on social media:

@PolkCountyH on Instagram and @polkcountyhealthcenter on Facebook or

Visit the PCHC website at polkcountyhealthcenter.org   

For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19.

Sources: Center for Disease Control, Missouri Department of Health and American Red Cross

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