Missouri recently reopened businesses after its coronavirus stay-at-home order expired at the beginning of the month

By Ally Mauch
May 26, 2020 02:21 PM
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Missouri health officials are warning residents that “COVID-19 is still here” after a video of people partying close together in the Lake of the Ozarks went viral.

Hundreds of partygoers in Osage Beach were seen gathering in large crowds at bars and pools over Memorial Day weekend, ignoring social distancing guidelines put forth amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Recent news reports indicate that many people, including those from the St. Louis region, did not follow any protective practices over the holiday weekend,” the St. Louis County Department of Public Health said in a statement after footage of the partying surfaced. “Many members of the public and employers have asked how to ensure that people who do not follow social distancing practices do not spread COVID-19 to others when they return to St. Louis and to their workplace.”

The statement went on to say that those who “traveled and engaged in this behavior should self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result for COVID-19.” St. Louis County also issued a formal travel advisory Monday, calling for people to self-quarantine if they recently traveled.

“This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” County Executive Dr. Sam Page said in a news release announcing the advisory. “I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace.”

Scott Pasmore/Twitter

Other leaders and health officials in the state echoed this same sentiment, asking those who partook in the festivities to self-quarantine.

“If you were part of a group that didn’t socially distance or wear masks, please, for the health of your family, coworkers and friends, stay home for the next 14 days,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson shared on Twitter.

Dr. Rex Archer, the Director of Health for the Kansas City Health Department, shared a video of the Memorial Day pool party alongside his own statement.

“Anyone who didn’t practice CDC, DHSS, and KCMO Health Department social distancing guidance should self-quarantine for 14 days if they have any compassion for others,” he wrote.

Dr. Randall Williams, the Director of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, warned that social distancing must continue, even after the state’s stay-at-home order expired earlier this month.

“This Memorial Day, we caution that COVID-19 is still here, and social distancing needs to continue to prevent further spread of infections,” he said in a statement Monday. “Close contact with others even if you are in the outdoors is still considered close contact and can lead to more infections as we still have new cases of COVID-19 being detected each day in Missouri.”

He continued, “The virus can be transmitted even among those young and healthy who aren’t experiencing symptoms. When they then carry the virus and transmit it to a more vulnerable person, this is when we tend to see the long-lasting and tragic impact of these decisions that are being made.”

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