Continue to Wear a Mask: Results from the latest Southeast Missouri COVID-19 Study

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Thursday, October 1, 2020 ~ Updated 4:49 PM

Results from the most recent Cape Girardeau County COVID-19 report issued September 20 show a continued uptick in the seven-day average positive cases in Cape Girardeau County, beginning the week of August 20 and jumping by multiple percentage points each week since the week of September 3, with a high of 13% and climbing.

In light of this, it is still very important to wear a mask when in public spaces. Social distancing should still be observed. Although it can be easy to forget the novel coronavirus still exists, we should remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic for a virus that does not yet have a vaccination. Protecting ourselves and others from contracting COVID-19 should be topmost on each person's priority list.

Public health serves to keep the largest number of people safe. The Cape Girardeau County Health Department considered multiple factors to do this when implementing the Universal masking order, including a marked increase in the positivity rate of testing, increasing regional hospitalization rates and increasing daily active case counts not only in Cape County but also in surrounding counties.

With the return to the community by university students and staff, the start of school for kindergarten through 12th grades, and the commencement of sports activities, the masking order remains in place to not only keep the largest number of people safe but also to avoid another full or partial business shutdown. Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as quarantine and isolation, hand washing, physical distancing, universal masking, engineering controls and administrative controls have been well described in medical literature and have been shown to be effective over the course of history. While they require personal commitment, they are the easiest and most effective methods we currently have for controlling viruses.

Cape Girardeau is a regional hub of economic services including medical, employment, education and retail services. During each day, its population expands by nearly 30,000 people. Please continue to wear your mask; it is the best form of public health protection we currently have.