Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As news about how the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), continues to spread around the globe, Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) would like to share important information to help residents stay safe and support others. While we know this new coronavirus strain is concerning, it is important to be prepared, not panicked. We are working closely with federal, state and local healthcare partners to monitor the spread of the virus and are prepared to respond swiftly. Because this is a changing situation, the most up to date information on COVID-19 is available on the federal Centers for Disease Control’s website.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. The hotline can be reached at 877.435.8411. The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing warning letters to firms for selling fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). They are actively monitoring for any firms marketing products with fraudulent COVID-19 prevention and treatment claims. A list of products the FDA have designated as fraudulent can be found here. 

John Hopkins University maintains an up to date global map of known coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

Columbia Public Schools school buildings will close to students and in-person classes beginning Wednesday, March 18. At the moment of closing, all athletics and activities will be suspended. At this time, they plan to reopen on Monday, April 13. 

As of March 13, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released an expanded list of nearly 200 products, including 40 new products that went through the agency’s expedited review process, that are effective for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel #coronavirus that causes #COVID-19.

PHHS Role in Local Response

PHHS has been in regular communication with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure we have the most current information available to protect our community. PHHS staff are experts in disease outbreak investigations. We do this work every day. We are prepared to address the needs of our community if cases of COVID-19 should begin to occur here.

PHHS has an emergency preparedness plan that we train on and exercise regularly. The plan is an all-hazards response plan. The plan includes how to respond to outbreaks and pandemics.  In 2008, the Columbia/Boone County community used the plan to respond to H1N1. PHHS has strong partnerships with hospitals, health care providers, the education sector, public safety, emergency management, local businesses and non-profits and has been in communication with these partners since the first of the year regarding COVID-19.  These relationships help us to share information quickly so as to best serve residents

If You Believe You Have Symptoms

  • Call the COVID-19 Hotline at 877.435.8411. Do not go to the emergency room or doctor’s office before calling. If unable to get through, call your local healthcare provider.
    • If you do not have a local healthcare provider, call the Health Department at 573.874.7355.
  • Follow the instructions provided by healthcare professionals.
  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
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Local Testing

As part of an ongoing community effort to increase testing for COVID-19, MU Health Care and Boone Hospital Center have begun offering drive-thru testing.

MU Health Care will offer drive-thru COVID-19 testing for patients with physician orders. The drive-thru testing is available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Saturday at Mizzou North building at 115 Business Loop 70 W.

Boone Hospital Center is offering testing from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday at the Doctor’s Building, 1504 E. Broadway. The drive-thru is offered for those who have been screened by a health professional and receive an order.

Boone County Hospital Test Reporting

MU Healthcare Test Reporting

Frequently Asked Questions & Helpful Resources

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause a wide range of illnesses from the common cold to more severe diseases. They are sometimes transmitted from animals to humans. COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2.
  • Incubation period: Current estimates of the incubation period of the virus: 2-14 days

Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported Jan. 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) webpage.

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through: 

  • the air by coughing and sneezing  
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands  
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes  

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

The onset and duration of viral shedding and period of infectiousness for COVID-19 are not yet known. Existing information regarding other coronaviruses suggests that the incubation period may range from 2-14 days. 

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. To protect against and prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, PHHS recommends:  
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
    • Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.
    • Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • 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 your hands are visibly dirty.

Stay safe while providing food to members of the community during COVID-19

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. Individuals with COVD-19 should receive supportive care to help alleviate symptoms. Those who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately. It is important that you contact your health care provider first, rather than going there first. This will allow the facility to make proper preparations for your arrival and to minimize potential transmission to others.  

 If you were in China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

People of Asian descent, including Chinese Americans, are NOT more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American.