Lincoln County has now seen evidence of community spread of COVID-19, a March 31 notice from the Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) said.

This is the first evidence of community-acquired COVID-19 in Lincoln County. Community spread means people have been infected in an area (such as a county), including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

LCHD staff have begun contact investigations and notifications regarding these cases. Any close contacts of positive cases will be contacted individually.

These community-acquired cases highlight the extreme importance of social distancing and following the recent stay at home order.

On March, 28, Lincoln County Health Department released a stay at home order, which

states that individuals shall avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people and stay home whenever possible. If individuals must go out for essential activities, such as work or getting supplies, they shall keep a distance of 6 feet from others and practice proper hygiene. Other essential activities include engaging in tasks essential to health and safety, obtaining necessary services or supplies, engaging in outdoor activities with proper social distancing, performing work or providing products/services at a business, or caring for a family member or pet in another household. This order does not order the closure of businesses, but businesses that remain open shall maintain proper social distancing and good hygiene and cleaning practices. All details and definitions can be found in the order at www.lchdmo.org/covid19

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If you have symptoms, you should stay home and call your health care provider. If your symptoms are severe enough to go to the emergency room, please call ahead.

Testing sites can be found at www.lchdmo.org/covid19-testing

The Lincoln County Health Department would like to remind residents to get their information from credible and reliable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.CDC.gov, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at www.health.mo.gov and the Lincoln County Health Department at www.lchdmo.org For general questions about COVID-19, individuals can call the Missouri hotline number at (877) 435-8411.