FAQ

About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus or novel coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It can affect anyone, and all age groups should take it seriously. Source

What is a coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a kind of virus that causes respiratory diseases. There are different kinds of coronavirus, but COVID-19 is the name of the specific virus that has caused the current pandemic. Source

Where did COVID-19 come from?

The outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and has since spread to more than 200 countries. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic, which means that it has spread all over the world. Source 1 Source 2

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. The list will be updated as scientists and doctors learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

What does it mean to be asymptomatic?

If you are told you are asymptomatic, it means you are not showing symptoms of having the virus. You could be carrying the virus without knowing it and without feeling or looking sick and still spread the virus to others. Source

Who does COVID-19 affect?

The virus can affect anyone. All age groups should take the risk of COVID-19 seriously. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease) appear to be highest risk of becoming severely ill with the virus. It is important to know that there is no way to tell how the virus will affect you. Source 1 Source 2

Who is most at risk to catch COVID-19?

If you have been in close contact with people with COVID-19 or have visited areas where the virus is spreading, you have a higher risk of getting COVID-19. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease) appear to be highest risk of becoming severely ill with the virus, but there is no way to tell how the virus will affect you. The best way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated against COVID. Take additional steps recommended by public health professionals, like handwashing, wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings, and keeping a distance of at least six feet from other people.

Who is at risk of developing severe symptoms?

Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease) appear to be highest risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19. However, anyone can develop severe symptoms There is no way to tell how the virus will affect you. Source 1 Source 2 Source 3

If I’ve already had COVID-19, can I get it again?

In general, reinfection means a person was infected (got sick) once, recovered, and then later became infected again. Based on what we know from similar viruses, some reinfections are expected. We are still learning more about COVID-19. Cases of reinfection with COVID-19 have been reported, but remain rare​.​ The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus that causes COVID-19. It might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated people. The CDC continues to monitor COVID infection and watch for cases of reinfection.

Is pink eye a symptom of COVID-19?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is not listed as a main symptom of COVID-19 by the CDC or WHO. The American Academy of Ophthalmology classifies pink eye as an uncommon symptom of COVID-19, possibly present in 1% to 3% of those infected. More research is needed to show a direct connection between pink eye and COVID-19. Source

Is losing your sense of taste or smell a symptom of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. The list will be updated as scientists and doctors learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

What to Do

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you think you are sick with COVID-19, call your doctor for medical advice. Your doctor may refer you for testing to confirm that you have COVID-19. If it is a medical emergency, call 911.

Should I go to the doctor if I think I have COVID-19?

If you have been exposed to COVID or have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for testing to confirm that you have it. Follow the advice of your doctor and local public health department.

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms or have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you should be tested regardless of your vaccination status. Contact your doctor or local public health department for information on how to be tested. You may also consider using a self-collection kit or aself-test that can be performed at home or anywhere else. It is important to contact your doctor or public health professionals if you believe you have been exposed to COVID.

Can I use a kit to test myself at home?

If you need to be tested for COVID-19 and can’t get tested by a healthcare provider, you can consider using either a self-collection kit or aself-test that can be performed at home or anywhere else. Sometimes a self-test is also called a “home test” or an “at-home test.” FDA provides information on which self-tests are authorized for use.

These self-collection kits and tests are available either by prescription or over the counter, without a prescription, in a pharmacy or retail store. At present, self-collection kits and tests are used for the detection of current infection.

Read the complete manufacturer’s instructions before using the test. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have questions about the test or your results. Learn more

What are the emergency warning signs of COVID-19?

Emergency warning signs include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Ongoing pain or pressure in your chest.
  • New mental confusion or inability to wake a person.
  • Bluish lips or face.

This list is not all inclusive. If you think it’s an emergency, call 911. Notify the operator that you have or think you have COVID-19. Source

What should I do if I think it’s an emergency?

Call 911 if you think it’s an emergency or if you have an emergency warning sign, like shortness of breath that turns into trouble breathing or a high fever. If you call for an ambulance, tell the emergency responders that you have COVID-19 symptoms so they can take extra steps to protect themselves from infection. Source

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you have mild symptoms, you may be able to recover at home. Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, you can take steps to manage your symptoms at home. Stay connected with your doctor for specific advice.

Stay away from other people in your home. Wash your hands often. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day.

Contact your local public health department for their recommendation on testing and vaccinations for people who live in your household, or who you may have been in close contact with.

Do I need to stay away from other people in my home if I have COVID-19?

Yes. You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom every day.

Wear a cloth face covering that covers both the nose and mouth when you must be around other people if you do not have difficulty breathing. If you can not wear a cloth face covering, other people in your home should wear one. Source

What should I do if my family member has COVID-19?

If you or your family member has mild symptoms, they may be able to recover at home. Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, you can take steps to manage symptoms at home. Stay connected with your doctor for specific advice.

  • Family members who have COVID-19 should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible and away from other people and pets. If you can, have sick family members use a separate bathroom. Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the “sick room” and bathroom every day.
  • Sick family members should wear a cloth face covering that covers both their nose and mouth when they must be around other people. If they can not wear a face covering, you should wear one.
  • Call 911 if your family member has an emergency warning sign, like shortness of breath that turns into trouble breathing or a high fever. If you call for an ambulance, tell the emergency responders that your family member has COVID-19 symptoms so they can take extra steps to protect themselves from infection.

Testing

What kind of facility should I visit for testing?

COVID-19 testing can be done in hospitals, urgent care facilities, pharmacies, or temporary drive-thru sites. Work with a healthcare provider you trust to identify an option that works for you.

Do I need an appointment or a referral?

In most cases, you will need to call ahead or schedule an appointment online. If you need to cancel your appointment or leave before getting tested, let the staff know.

You may need a physician’s referral or a pre-test evaluation depending on the facility.

How can I keep myself and others safe when getting a test?

Make an appointment with the testing facility. Appointments limit the number of people who will be in the facility at a given time, which keeps everyone safe. If you need to cancel your appointment or leave before getting tested, let the staff know.

Wear your mask to your appointment and practice physical distancing while waiting. Wash or sanitize your hands before entering the facility and after your test.

Follow the guidelines set by the testing facility. Some will require you to wait outside or in your car until they are ready to see you. Call ahead so you know what to do.

When will I receive my test results?

Tests can take as little as 24 hours or as long as two weeks to process, depending on how many tests are being performed and where your test was collected. When scheduling your testing appointment, ask how long results will take and how you will be notified.

Vaccines

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines protect people from specific diseases by training the immune system to recognize and attack a virus before it can make them sick.

Watch this series of videos from Health Action Alliance to better understand how vaccines work.

Vaccines also protect the community. When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, people who are not immune are also protected because it is harder for the disease to spread. This also makes it harder for the virus to mutate.

Diseases that were once common in the U.S. – like measles, mumps and polio – are now very rare because most Americans have immunity through vaccines.

 

How are vaccines developed?

Vaccines must go through many tests and approval processes to make sure they are effective and safe before they are distributed to the public.

Vaccines usually go through six stages of development. During these stages, the vaccines being studied are called “candidates.”

  1. Exploratory Stage
  2. Pre-Clinical Stage
  3. Clinical Trials – Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Regulatory Review and Approval
  6. Quality Control

To speed up the process for COVID-19 vaccines, some of these stages took place at the same time. For example, drug companies may begin making a vaccine while it is still in Phase 3 clinical trials so that the vaccine is ready to distribute immediately if it is approved.

What does “emergency use” approval mean for vaccine?

Emergency use authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize the use of yet-to-be-approved drugs, or unapproved uses of approved drugs, often in emergency situations when there are no other prevention or treatment options. The FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and has now issued full approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

In an emergency when lives are at risk, like a pandemic, it may not be possible to gather all the evidence that the FDA would usually require before approving a vaccine or drug. If evidence strongly suggests patients have benefited from a treatment, the FDA can issue an EUA to make it available to the public. For the COVID-19 vaccines, the FDA required two months of safety and efficacy data before the EUA was granted, including clinical trials with tens of thousands of people and rigorous testing and review. Compared to EUA, full FDA approval of vaccines requires even more data on safety, manufacturing, and effectiveness over longer periods of time. All the vaccines continue to be closely monitored.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was the first vaccine to have the necessary data to receive EUA, and it was the first to have enough data to receive full approval. Moderna has also submitted an application for full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, and the FDA is currently reviewing those data. For the time being, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will continue to be safely administered through emergency use authorization.

Where can I get a COVID vaccine?

All Missourians five years old or older can get a free COVID vaccine. There are multiple options for where you can get vaccinated, including local public health departments, hospitals, health care clinics and pharmacies. Find a vaccine

Who is responsible for making sure the COVID vaccine is safe?

There are multiple agencies responsible for making sure new vaccines are safe. Before a vaccine becomes available, it must go through several rounds of tests with human volunteers. The FDA reviews the results of these studies before authorizing vaccines. The FDA also inspects the factories where vaccines are produced to ensure quality and safety.

Once a vaccine is released, agencies in the national vaccine monitoring system continue to oversee the safety of vaccines. These agencies monitor the safety of hundreds of millions of vaccines every year and include:

  • Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)
  • The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD)
  • Post-licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring System (PRISM)
  • Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project (CISA)
  • The Department of Defense (DoD)
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP)

Source 1, Source 2

Which age groups can get the COVID vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is available and recommended for everyone five years old and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine are authorized for people 18 and older. Research on COVID vaccines for younger children is ongoing.

How many shots or doses will be needed?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two shots. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires a single dose.

Booster doses are recommended for some groups of people:

  • Some Pfizer and Moderna recipients should get a booster at least six months after their second shot – people age 65 and older, and adults at high risk due to medical conditions or exposure at their jobs.
  • All Johnson & Johnson recipients age 18 and older should get a booster at least two months after their initial shot.
  • Immunocompromised people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should get an additional dose at least 28 days after their second dose.

The CDC’s clinical guidance advises people to get the same booster as their initial vaccine, but allows people to mix and match vaccines. This means they can choose to get a different brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster than they receieved for their initial dose.

As the science and the virus evolve, so do policies and recommendations.

Booster doses are common for many vaccines. The scientists and medical experts who developed the COVID-19 vaccines continue to closely watch for signs of weakening immunity, how well the vaccines protect against new strains of the virus, and how data differ across age groups and risk factors.

What are some of the side effects of the COVID vaccine?

Side effects are a normal part of vaccination. After getting a vaccine, the body launches an immune response that can produce short-term symptoms. These symptoms are a positive sign that the body is building immunity. During clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, some participants reported side effects including exhaustion or tiredness, muscle pain, chills, and fever. These symptoms were more common after the second dose of the vaccine and usually last for one or two days. These side effects do not mean that you are sick with COVID-19.

The potential side effects of a vaccine are much less serious than the long-term, life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19. Talk with your healthcare provider about any worries you may have about the vaccine and how you will handle potential side effects. Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4

How effective are COVID-19 vaccines? What do these numbers mean?

While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine provides 100% immunity. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, scientists and medical experts continue to monitor how long immunity lasts, whether some groups may need additional doses, and how well the vaccines protect against new variants of the virus.

Data continue to show that the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in protecting fully vaccinated people from catching and spreading the virus, including the delta variant. A small percentage of vaccinated people experience breakthrough cases, but they are much more likely to have milder symptoms than unvaccinated people with COVID-19.

Unvaccinated people continue to account for the vast majority of severe cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19. CDC data show that in August 2021, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. was more than 11 times greater for unvaccinated people compared to fully vaccinated people.

The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is increased for some groups — including older adults, people with underlying medical conditions, immunocompromised people, and pregnant or recently pregnant people. If you have questions about your risk of COVID-19, how to protect yourself from COVID-19, or about the vaccines, speak to your health provider.

Source 1, Source 2

Will the current vaccines protect against new strains of the coronavirus?

Johnson & Johnson clinical trials showed their vaccine protected against several emerging variants. Research shows Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against 2021 strains of coronavirus. Ongoing testing will be done to gauge the vaccines’ protection against developing srains of the virus.

How long does protection last?

COVID-19 is a relatively new virus in humans. We don’t know yet know long immunity from infection or vaccination will last. Some people have been infected with COVID-19 more than once, which shows that immunity from natural infection may not last very long. Immunity from the vaccine is expected to last longer, but researchers will need to continue studying this question. Source 1, Source 2

How soon will we be able to get back to a more normal way of life?

Vaccines are an important tool in ending the pandemic and allowing vaccinated individuals safely return to normal activities. While a growing number of people are getting vaccinated, it could take while for enough people to get vaccinated so that we achieve “herd immunity” and can stop the spread of the virus. In the meantime, we need to continue taking safety steps like frequent handwashing, wearing face masks, and physical distancing to prevent to protect ourselves, our families and people in our communities. Source 1, Source 2

Can the state make the vaccine mandatory?

Technically, yes. States have the legal and constitutional power to introduce a vaccination mandate requiring people who live in the state to be vaccinated. Upon full approval from the FDA, states could make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement before returning or accessing workplaces, schools and colleges. Missouri Governor Mike Parson has said he will not require vaccinations in Missouri. Source 1, Source 2

Where can I look for more information?

There is a lot of new information – and sometimes untrue information – about the vaccines, and it can be hard to know who to turn to for advice.

It is best to talk with a healthcare professional, like your doctor, who has the scientific knowledge to answer your questions and who has your family’s best interests in mind. Download a discussion guide to help with this conversation here.

Other sources of reliable information about the vaccines include your local public health department, the CDC, the FDA, and professional associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Cure/Treatment

Is there treatment for COVID-19?

Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, most people with a mild case of COVID can manage symptoms at home.

  • Rest and sleep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease sore throat and cough.

It is important to reach out to and stay connected with your doctor for specific advice. If symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately or call 9-1-1.

Can hydroxychloroquine treat or prevent COVID-19?

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are prescription drugs used to prevent malaria and treat some autoimmune diseases. Clinical trials are underway to see if the drugs can benefit COVID-19 patients or health care workers who are exposed to the virus. The drugs are not approved for treating COVID-19 and there is no evidence that they can prevent infection.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can have serious side effects including fatal changes in heart rhythms, especially when combined with other medicines. The FDA warns that the drugs should only be used to treat COVID-19 in hospitals or clinical trials where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems. The drugs are not safe for people with abnormal heart rhythms, liver disease or kidney disease.

Do not buy these medications from online pharmacies or begin taking them without a prescription from your health care provider. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine and experience irregular heartbeats, dizziness, or fainting, seek medical attention right away by calling 911.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4

Spread

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
What is community spread?

Community spread is a term to describe the spread of a disease in an area where there is not a clear chain of events or connection to a person who is known to be infected.

How long can COVID-19 last on surfaces?

COVID-19 can last on surfaces from a couple hours or up to several days, depending on the type of surface. This is why it is important to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home. You can follow these suggestions to see how you can best clean various surfaces. Source

Can I get COVID-19 through food or water?

There is little evidence that you can get COVID-19 through food. Continue to practice proper food preparation safety by washing your hands before preparing food and thoroughly cooking your food. Source

Will the spread of COVID-19 in meatpacking plants impact the safety of meat products?

COVID-19 is not known to spread through food, including meat. The biggest concern regarding coronavirus and food safety depends more on general hygiene than contaminated food. As an extra precaution, follow standard food safety steps. Before and after handling raw meat, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing food. Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and refrigerator. And never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water. Source 1 Source 2

Can I get COVID-19 through contact with pets?

At this time there is no evidence that pets can become sick with or spread COVID-19. While the CDC has not received any reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, there have been pets in Hong Kong and Belgium that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Can I handle mail or a package that came from another country?

COVID-19 can spread by touching a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. There have not been any reports of people becoming sick after handling packages from other countries. Still, it is a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after handling mail or other deliveries.

Prevention

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

The best way to protect yourself from COVID is to get vaccinated. You should also follow public health guidance like wearing a face mask when in crowded indoor settings. Keep a six feet distance from people who don’t live with you. Wash your hands frequently, with soap, for at least 20 seconds. Don’t touch your face.

What cleaning products should I use to protect against COVID-19?

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces with soap and water followed by a household disinfecting wipe or spray. Always follow directions and use disinfectants safely. Never mix products containing bleach with products containing ammonia. And never swallow or drink disinfectants or household cleaners.

Masks & Face Coverings

How should a face mask be used?

Face masks should:

  • Fully cover your nose and mouth.
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Include a nose wire to help the mask fit against your nose.
  • Include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Be able to be washed with hot water in a washing machine.

Do not use masks made of loosely woven fabric, or masks with exhalation valves or vents.

When removing your face mask, grab it by the ear loops to keep the mask clean. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask.

Wash your mask regularly in a washing machine. If possible, wash your mask after each use.

Does wearing a face mask or face covering prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along with vaccination, mask-wearing continues to be an important part of the public health strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic — especially when combined with other prevention strategies like social distancing and washing hands.

Because COVID-19 spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets, properly wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of the virus to others, and it also offers helps protects the mask-wearer.

A surgical mask is the most effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. In absence of a surgical mask, a well-fitting cloth mask is also effective. A cloth mask should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, fit tightly against the face, cover the nose and mouth, and have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out the top of the mask.

People ages 2 and older should wear a mask in indoor public places if they are:

  • Not fully vaccinated
  • Fully vaccinated and in an area with substantial or high virus transmission
  • Fully vaccinated and have a weakened immune system
  • In any setting where mask use is required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status

Read the CDC’s Your Guide to Masks for more information about when and how to wear a mask, what kinds of masks there are, and other guidance. For more information about mask guidance in your area, consult your local health department.

Will wearing a face mask protect me from getting COVID-19?

Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Along with vaccination, mask-wearing continues to be an important part of the public health strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic — especially when combined with other prevention strategies like social distancing and washing hands.

Because COVID-19 spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets, properly wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of the virus to others, and it also offers helps protects the mask-wearer.

A surgical mask is the most effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. In absence of a surgical mask, a well-fitting cloth mask is also effective. A cloth mask should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric, fit tightly against the face, cover the nose and mouth, and have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out the top of the mask.

People ages 2 and older should wear a mask in indoor public places if they are:

  • Not fully vaccinated
  • Fully vaccinated and in an area with substantial or high virus transmission
  • Fully vaccinated and have a weakened immune system
  • In any setting where mask use is required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status

Read the CDC’s Your Guide to Masks for more information about when and how to wear a mask, what kinds of masks there are, and other guidance. For more information about mask guidance in your area, consult your local health department.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

The COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, including against the delta variant. If you are fully vaccinated, you have a very low risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. In areas where there is substantial and high transmission of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the virus.

There are a few other places where everyone should wear a mask, regardless of whether they are vaccinated: health care settings, public transportation, planes, shelters, K-12 schools, and correctional facilities. Regardless of vaccination status, people should follow local regulations and the requirements of businesses, workplaces, and schools — which may require masks.

While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine provides 100% immunity. Data show that a small percent of vaccinated people can be infected by the delta variant in a breakthrough infection and transmit their infection to others. Fully vaccinated individuals may make the personal decision to continue to wear a mask based on their own risk assessment and preference. Those with certain medical conditions or who are immunosuppressed should consult their physicians regarding mask-wearing and other protective measures.

Should I wear multiple masks or “double mask”?

Masks with multiple layers improve protection to you and the people around you. You can add layers by wearing one mask over another (called double masking) or wearing one mask with multiple layers of fabric.

If you choose to double mask, wear a disposable mask against your face and a cloth mask on top. The edges of the disposable mask should fit snugly but comfortably against your face. Do not layer multiple disposable masks or layer masks on top of a KN95 mask. Source

Will masks stop the spread of new COVID-19 variants?

While masks are not 100% effective at stopping the spread of a virus, they sigificantly lower the risk for you and people around you. Choose a mask with multiple layers that fully covers your nose and mouth.

The best protection against COVID-19 is to be vaccinated. Vaccines are now available for everyone five years old and older.

 

Do I need to continue wearing a mask after I’m vaccinated?

Yes. Even after you are fully vaccinated, you still need to wear a mask to protect the people around you. The vaccine is effective at preventing you from getting sick with COVID-19, but you may still be able to spread the virus to others. Research about this is ongoing. Until we know more, we all need to continue taking steps like masking to stop the spread.

How should a face shield be used?

Face shields should wrap around your chin and the sides of your head. Hooded face shields may provide more protection than those without hoods.

When removing a face shield, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands immediately after removing.

Follow manufacturer instructions for using your face shield safely. Thoroughly disinfect your face shield and allow it to dry between uses. Discard the face shield if it becomes damaged. [Source 1] [Source 2]

Can face shields prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Unlike face masks that prevent the spread of droplets from the nose and mouth, face shields are intended to protect the wearer’s eyes.

At this time, there is not enough information to determine if face shields can stop the spread of COVID-19. The CDC does not recommend wearing a face shield as a substitute for a mask in everyday situations. [Source 1] [Source 2]

Washing Hands

Does washing my hands really help?

Yes! Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 can get onto your hands from coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated objects. Germs on unwashed hands can spread to other people and enter your body when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Removing these germs through handwashing can prevent infections like COVID-19.

How long should I wash my hands?

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. 20 seconds is about as long as it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

What is the correct way to wash my hands?

Follow these steps for the most effective hand washing.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water. Turn off the water and apply soap.
  2. Lather up the soap by rubbing your hands together. Be sure to scrub both sides of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well with clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry.
Should I use hand sanitizer?

If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands. Apply the hand sanitizer to your palm and rub all over your hands until the product is dry. Whenever possible, wash your hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizers may not be as effective on very dirty or greasy hands and may not remove all kinds of germs.

Physical Distancing

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing, also called “social distancing” means staying at least six feet away from anyone you don’t live with. COVID-19 is most commonly spread through the air (by talking, coughing, or sneezing) and through close personal contact (like touching or shaking hands). Physical distancing helps stop the spread from person to person.

How does physical distancing help stop the spread of COVID-19?

Physical distancing can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by reducing close contact between people. Even people who are vaccinated, don’t have symptoms, or don’t feel sick can spread COVID-19 to others. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, keep a distance of at least six feet from others even if you and the people around you feel healthy. Also consider wearing a mask, especially while you are in crowded indoor settings.

How can I picture six feet?

A six-foot distance is about the same as:

  • The width of the average car.
  • A normal, three-seat couch.
  • The length of a mattress.
  • The height of a door.
How long do I need to practice physical distancing?

It is impossible to predict exactly when we will be able to fully return to more familiar way of life without these restrictions. Physical distancing and other safety practices like staying at home will likely need to continue for some time to ensure there is not a new increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Vaccination against COVID is your best protection and will allow you to return to a more normal way of life more quickly.

Contact Tracing

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease like COVID-19 and monitoring those people to stop the spread of disease.

Local public health experts and patients work together to make a list of people the patient interacted with while they were contagious. The public health experts then contact the people on the list, warn them that they may have been exposed to the virus, and give them guidance on what to do next.

The contacts are not told who the patient is unless the patient specifically gives permission. Public health experts work diligently to protect patient confidentiality.

Who is responsible for contact tracing?

Public health experts at local public health departments are responsible for contact tracing in their own communities. They work with patients to identify anyone the patient may have had contact with while they were contagious. This might include family, friends, co-workers, and community members.

How does contact tracing stop the spread?

Contact tracing allows public health experts to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and provide them with resources and information about how to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease.

Depending on your contact with the patient, you may be asked to self-quarantine or you may be asked to visit with the contact tracer periodically and report if you have any symptoms. This will also allow for quicker testing if you become ill.

Has this worked before?

Yes. Public health experts around the world are successfully using contact tracing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health experts regularly use contact tracing for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, Ebola, SARS and other infections that are spread from person-to-person.

How will I be contacted?

You will receive a call from your local public health department if you are not hospitalized at the time of testing. Sometimes you will also hear from your local provider who performed the test. Once you are contacted by the local public health department, they will ask you questions to help determine who you have been in contact with to begin contact tracing.

Who counts as a contact?

Contacts can include anyone you have interacted with while contagious. First, public health experts will want to identify the “close contacts” whom you have been within 6 feet of for more than a few minutes. After identifying close contacts, public health experts will help you list all other contacts.

How will I be contacted after having contact with someone with COVID-19?

Public health experts use a variety of methods to reach contacts as quickly as possible. If the person’s contact information is known, public health experts will make a personal phone call.

When exposure occurs in a public place and the patient does not know who was there, public health experts may issue a media release to notify anyone who may have been in a certain place at a certain time. They will instruct these people to contact their local public health department.

Remember that information about contact tracing will only come from a local public health expert.

Will I be asked to self-quarantine?

You may be asked to stay home and isolate yourself from others for up to 2 weeks. You will be given instructions on how to monitor your symptoms and what to do if symptoms develop or worsen. Public health experts may continue to check in with you to monitor your health and provide additional instructions.

What information is needed for contact tracing?

Public health experts may ask if you have had a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms. They may also ask questions to determine if you can safely isolate yourself from others.

Because you may have unknowingly spread the virus to others, you may be asked where you work, where you have shopped, and who you have visited to help the public health expert find additional contacts.

Will I know who the contact is?

No. To protect patient privacy, contacts are told only that they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. You will not be told the identity of the patient who may have exposed you to the virus unless the patient has asked that you be told.

What can I do to help with the contract tracing effort?

When you talk to public health experts, please provide as much information as you can. It is very important that they be able to locate anyone you may have been in contact with.

You can help the process move more quickly if you start keeping a record now of the places you go each day and who you have contact with. If you are contacted by public health experts, you will be prepared to share the list with the public health expert to help speed up their contact tracing process.

You can download and print a contact tracking worksheet here.

Can I remain anonymous?

Yes. To protect patient privacy, contacts are told only that they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Contacts are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them, unless the patient specifically gives public health experts permission to share that information.

If I am contacted, can I decline to participate?

No, there are communicable disease statutes in place that require people with a communicable disease to provide local public health departments with as much information as possible to stop the spread of disease.

What data will I have to share?

You will be asked for names, phone numbers, addresses, and other identifying information you may have for anyone you may have been in contact with. This is to help the local public health department reach these contacts faster. A quick response can help significantly to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Isn’t this an invasion of people’s privacy?

Local public health experts understand your desire for privacy and must follow state and federal regulations on protecting personal health information. Your information will only be used to help slow and stop the spread of disease. Unless you give the local public health agency permission to share your name with contacts, they will not do so.

How can I ensure that you won’t abuse my information or privacy?

Local public health experts understand your desire for privacy. They are bound by state and federal regulations, including HIPAA. Your information will only be used to help slow and stop the spread of disease. Unless you give the local public health agency permission to share your name with contacts, they will not do so.

Your local public health department will not ask you for information that could be used by identity thieves, like social security numbers.

Holidays

Should I host or attend a Thanksgiving gathering?

Gathering in a large group of people that you do not live with increases your chances of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. Consider celebrating Thanksgiving with the people in your household instead of hosting or going to a large gathering.

Find alternative ways to connect with loved ones you do not live with – especially those who are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Prepare traditional recipes for family members or neighbors and deliver a meal to them. Or host a virtual gathering with family and friends to eat, play games, and share recipes together.

Is it safe to travel for Thanksgiving this year?

Travel can increase your chances of catching and spreading COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated.

If your holidays plans include travel, follow these best practices to stop the spread:

  • Wear a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth when in crowded indoor settings.
  • Practice physical distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your face.

If anyone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home. If you think you have been exposed to the virus while traveling, self-quarantine to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. Call your doctor if you begin to develop symptoms.

See the CDC’s guidelines for different types of travel.

How can we stop the spread at our Thanksgiving meal?

COVID-19 can spread through the air when you breathe, talk, cough, or sneeze. Unfortunately, sharing a meal together creates an opportunity for COVID-19 and other germs to spread through the air. If you are unvaccinated, consider celebrating Thanksgiving dinner with only the people in your household to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19. Even if you are vaccinated, consider wearing a mask when in crowded indoor settings with people who may not be vaccinated.

COVID-19 can spread when you touch a surface with the virus on it, then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. Reduce the risk of spreading COVID by having one person serve each dish. Everyone should also wash their hands often – especially before eating, drinking and preparing food.

Is it safe to participate in Black Friday this year?

Black Friday shopping usually involves large groups of people crowded together indoors, making it a high-risk activity for the spread of COVID. If you are not fully vaccinated, consider alternative ways to do your holiday shopping safely this year.

Many stores are changing Black Friday plans and offering more online deals or curbside pickup to reduce crowds and eliminate the need to rush into stores. Plan to do your in-person holiday shopping at less busy times so you can practice physical distancing in the stores.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, consider wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth while in crowded indoor settings. Even if you have been vaccinated, you can still carry and spread the COVID virus.

Should everyone get a COVID-19 vaccination before Thanksgiving?

Because fall and winter weather tends to drive people indoors into more crowded settings with less fresh air flow, the risk of spreading the COVID virus increases. Getting vaccinated against COVID at least two weeks before you plan to be in a crowded indoor setting will allow your body time to build immunity against the virus.

Even when you are vaccinated, you can still carry and spread the virus to other people. So you should still wash your hands often, try to keep a physical distance from others who are not vaccinated, and consider wearing a mask while in crowded indoor settings.

Summer Safety

Can I visit my family?

The best protection for your family is for everyone to be vaccinated against COVID. Whether vaccinated or not, it is up to you and your family members to decide whether you are comfortable with the risk of visiting each other. Only you know how well you have been following public health guidelines to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease) appear to be at highest risk of becoming severely ill with the virus and should continue to avoid visiting with people they do not live with.

If you decide to visit with your family, it is best to practice physical distancing by staying 6 feet apart and avoiding close contact like hugging and kissing.

When will I be able to travel or go on vacation?

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19 and can travel at low risk to themselves within the United States. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to get tested before or after domestic travel unless your destination requires it, and you do not need to self-quarantine following domestic travel. After travel, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and follow CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people

Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. International travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants. All travelers, including those who are fully vaccinated, are still required to get tested or show documentation of recovery before flying to the United States from another country and should still get tested 3–5 days after travel. Follow CDC’s International Travel Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People and for Unvaccinated People.

Make sure you understand and follow all transportation and destination requirements related to travel, mask wearing, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States. If you are traveling with children who cannot get vaccinated at this time, follow recommendations for unvaccinated people and choose safer travel options. Know when not to travel.

What if I have to travel for work or an emergency?

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Your best protection against COVID is to be vaccinated before you travel. Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19 and can travel at low risk to themselves within the United States.

Even when you are vaccinated, you will still need to wash your hands frequently, consider wearing a face mask, and stay at least 6 feet apart from other people when possible. Follow CDC’s recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people

If you think you have been exposed to the virus while traveling, self-quarantine to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. Call your doctor if you begin to develop symptoms.

Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated.

Is COVID-19 seasonal? Could it return?

Researchers and experts are still working to determine if COVID-19 is seasonal or not. Some other types of coronavirus are seasonal, but this strain of coronavirus is still being researched. Seasonal viruses like the cold and flu do not go away entirely in summer months and can still spread from person to person.

Back to School

Are school-age children at risk for COVID-19?

There is still a lot to learn about the virus, including what the long-term impacts of infection may be. We do know that anyone can catch COVID-19 and that it is impossible to predict how mild or severe it may become. People of all ages should take the virus seriously and take steps to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19. Children five and older may now be vaccinated against COVID. Additional protective actions include frequent hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a mask when in public.

What symptoms should keep someone home from school?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, coughing, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Not everyone who has COVID-19 will have the same symptoms. Students and staff who are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and call their doctor for guidance. Generally, if you are not feeling well, you should stay home. It is a good idea to stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever, but you should check with your school for specific guidelines about when it is ok to return.

Can children wear masks for a full school day?

Yes. Children over age two can and should wear masks over their nose and mouth to stop the spread of COVID at school. Wearing a mask might be uncomfortable sometimes, but it is very important for keeping friends, classmates and teachers healthy. Make sure you have a mask that fits your child – and experiment with different kinds of masks to see which is the best for your child.

What happens when our school has a COVID-19 case?

When there is a case of COVID-19 at school, schools work with the local public health department to minimize the spread of the virus. Anyone who was in close contact with the student or adults who was sick may be asked to stay home and monitor their health to see if any symptoms develop. People who have been exposed may also need to be tested. Check with your school nurse or your local public health department for specific guidance for your school.

Keeping consistent seating charts in classrooms and on school buses can help schools alert those contacts quickly and stop the spread.

If there are multiple cases at one time or several days in a row with new cases, schools may need to close temporarily and will work with local public health experts to determine if additional steps are needed to stop the spread.

How long will we have to follow these guidelines?

We cannot predict exactly when we will be able to return to a more normal way of life in our communities and at school. It will take time and will likely not be over quickly. The more consistently we follow guidelines like physical distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands, the sooner it will happen.

Can face shields prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Unlike face masks that prevent the spread of droplets from the nose and mouth, face shields are intended to protect the wearer’s eyes.

At this time, there is not enough information to determine if face shields can stop the spread of COVID-19. The CDC does not recommend wearing a face shield as a substitute for a mask in everyday situations. [Source 1] [Source 2]

How should a face shield be used?

Face shields should wrap around your chin and the sides of your head. Hooded face shields may provide more protection than those without hoods.

When removing a face shield, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands immediately after removing.

Follow manufacturer instructions for using your face shield safely. Thoroughly disinfect your face shield and allow it to dry between uses. Discard the face shield if it becomes damaged. [Source 1] [Source 2]

Parents & Kids

How can I protect my child from COVID-19?

Keeping children safe and healthy is top of mind for parents. Medical and public health experts, including the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that children and adolescents age 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect them from contracting and spreading the virus.

COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death, and tens of thousands of children and teens have been hospitalized with COVID-19. While children and adolescents are typically at lower risk than adults of becoming severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19, it is still possible. The vaccine is the best way to protect children from becoming severely ill or having long-lasting health impacts due to COVID-19.

Another important reason for children to get the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect their friends, family, and the broader community from the spread of the virus. As vaccination rates increase, the lower the chances that the coronavirus will mutate into dangerous variants.

Scientists have worked to ensure the vaccine is safe for children ages 5-17. Before being authorized for children, scientists and medical experts completed their review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials of thousands of children. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was rigorously tested and reviewed, and more than 11 million adolescents ages 12-17 have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. As of November 2, 2021, the Pfizer vaccine is also authorized for children ages 5-11.

Data from trials will continue to be collected for two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that they are safe for the long term. As with all vaccines, there will be ongoing monitoring among people who are vaccinated.

What should I do if I’m pregnant?

Based on data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy, CDC is now recommending COVID-19 vaccination for all people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant now or in the future. Data show that pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill if infected with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people, and the highly contagious delta variant makes it even more important for eligible people to get vaccinated.

The CDC’s recommendation, announced on August 11, 2021 is based on further evidence about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and a new analysis of current data from the CDC’s v-safe pregnancy registry. In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other leading maternal health and public health organizations are “strongly urging” all pregnant individuals, and anyone planning to become pregnant, be vaccinated against COVID-19.

What should I do if I’m breastfeeding?

Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants. You, along with your family and healthcare providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding. Also, consider getting vaccinated against COVID to protect your own health and your baby’s health. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breast milk, which could help protect their babies. In both of these cases, more data are needed to determine the level of protection these antibodies may provide to the baby and how long that protection would last.

If you feel sick or your baby is sick, call your doctor right away. The CDC has more information on COVID-19 for pregnant and breastfeeding people.

Pets

Do I need to stay away from pets in my home if I have COVID-19?

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends staying away from pets if you are sick with COVID-19.

When possible, have another family member take care of feeding and caring for your pet. If this isn’t possible, or if you have a service animal, take the following precautions:

  • Wear a cloth face covering when caring for your pet or service animal if you do not have difficulty breathing.
  • Do not pet, share food, kiss, or hug your pet or service animal.
  • Wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal.
  • Do not share dishes, towels, or bedding with your pet or service animal.
  • If your pet is sick, call your local veterinarian. Tell them if you or a family member is sick with COVID-19. Source
Can I give COVID-19 to my pets?

Although we are still learning about this virus, it appears it can spread from people to animals in some situations. The CDC is aware of a small number of pets and animals both in the U.S. and abroad that have tested positive for COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people infected with COVID-19. If a person inside the household becomes sick, the CDC recommends isolating that person from everyone else, including pets. Source

COVID-19 & Missouri

Why was the stay-at-home order needed?

“Stay Home Missouri” was put into place to protect public health and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. As  more Missourians get vaccinated, and we work together to follow public health recommendations like washing our hands, keeping a physical distance from others, and wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings, stay-at-home orders will be less likely to be needed.

Will another stay-at-home order go into effect?

The State of Missouri, under guidance from local, state and federal health officials, is continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 cases in the state. If a widespread increase in COVID-19 cases threatens the health and safety of Missourians, public health and government officials could decide to implement another stay-at-home order. As more people choose to get vaccinated against COVID our “herd immunity” increases, making a stay-at-home order less likely to be needed.

Doesn’t this infringe on my religious freedom?

Many aspects of our lives are being impacted by COVID-19, including our religious practices. We may have to change some of our normal behaviors to stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes how we learn, how we work, how we play, and how we worship. Vaccination is still the best protection against COVID. If you are not vaccinated, consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings like church, keep a distance from others or worship at home virtually.

Can I go to the park?

You may visit parks and enjoy outdoor recreation while following physical distancing guidelines. Limit your contact with other people and with frequently touched surfaces like playground equipment. You can participate in outdoor recreation like walking, running, or biking. Remember to keep at least six feet away from others.

Can I visit friends and family if I maintain physical distancing?

If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume many of the activities that you did prior to the pandemic. If you are not vaccinated, consider wearing a mask and maintain a distance of six feet from other people when in public. Always wash your hands frequently with soap and water and keep in mind that some people are at higher risk for getting seriously sick or even dying from COVID. Even if you are vaccinated, you can still spread the virus to others, so consider wearing a mask if visitig people at high risk, try to meet outside in the fresh air if the weather permits, and avoid hugging or shaking hands.

Can I visit elderly friends or family?

As more people are getting vaccinated and resuming activities they did before the pandemic, people are considering how to protect their families and still spend time together. Not everyone is able to get vaccinated, so consider ways you can best protect your family members and friends. Keep in mind that elderly people and those with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people. Try to take your visit outdoors if the weather is warm enough. Keep a distance of at least six feet from one another. Everyone should wear a mask when visiting the elderly for your protection and theirs. Wash your hands often and try not to touch your face. Certainly don’t visit them if you are feeling sick or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID. Talk to your doctor, nurse or public health expert if you have questions.

Are rural communities safer than urban communities?

Rural areas have a unique set of considerations when managing a pandemic like COVID-19. Here are some important things to remember:

  • COVID-19 is spread from person to person and the virus can affect any of us. All Missourians should take the risk of COVID-19 seriously.
  • Rural communities tend to have an older population with more pre-existing medical conditions, populations which are at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Rural communities have less access to doctors and healthcare facilities. These facilities in nearby communities may already be struggling to handle the existing cases in areas that have already been harder hit.
  • Though the numbers may be lower than urban areas, once these communities start to see cases, they might struggle to fill important community roles, especially if people such as public health professionals, teachers, police officers and firefighters get sick and have to self-quarantine.

The best way to keep you and your community safe and keep the number of infections low is to get vaccinated, wash your hands frequently, keep a distance and consider wearing a mask when you will be in a crowded indoor setting.

Why do the numbers differ from the county to the state?

As additional information is determined on new cases, information such as county, demographics, and total counts will continue to change. Efforts are continually being made to improve data quality so that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is providing the most accurate information possible. Source

Myths

Should I stock up on food and supplies?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends buying what your family needs for a week. Buying weeks or months of supplies in advance leads to shortages and makes it difficult for other families to take care of themselves. Consumer demand has been exceptionally high, especially for groceries, cleaning supplies and healthcare products. Supply chains haven’t been disrupted, but stores need time to restock.

Can herd immunity protect us from COVID-19?

No. Herd immunity is not a solution for COVID-19 for a few reasons:

  • Herd immunity to diseases like mumps and polio is possible because of vaccines. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • In most cases, more than 80 percent of a population needs to be immune to stop the spread of a contagious disease like COVID-19. If too many people become infected, our healthcare system will be overburdened, and many more people will die.
  • There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you or your family members. Even young, healthy people can become very ill from the virus.
  • It may be possible to be infected with COVID-19 more than once. Even if you recover from COVID-19, it is possible you could become infected again or pass the virus to others.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3

Coping & Self-Care

Community

One for All Missouri Campaign

What is the One for All Missouri campaign?

One for All Missouri is a campaign aimed at sharing accurate, timely, easy-to-understand information and resources on COVID-19 with Missourians so we can stop the spread of the virus. One for All Missouri is a collaborative effort led by Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence and powered by Missouri Foundation for Health.

How can I get involved?

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 must be a statewide effort. We all need to work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. This includes:

  • Getting vaccinated.
  • Following guidance from local public health experts.
  • Staying in touch with loved ones in the safest way possible.
  • Keeping a log of people you have come into contact with.
  • Using your voice to share clear and accurate information about COVID-19 with friends and loved ones and urge them to follow science-based recommendations from trustworthy sources.