COVID-19

This page is designed as a catch-all for news and resources about COVID-19, the disease resulting from a new strain of coronavirus currently spreading across the United States, as it relates to Pike County. If you are a Pike County unit of government, business or other organization taking steps to address the pandemic that the public should now about, please send information to athorp@pikecountynews.com

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RESOURCES

CLOSURES

CANCELLATIONS


NEWS

Health Department confirms second positive case

The Pike County Health Department reported a second positive test for COVID-19 the morning of Friday, April 3.

The patient is in home isolation. As cases in Pike County and elsewhere in the state increase — cases in St. Charles County and Lincoln County have roughly doubled since Monday, March 30 — the Pike County Health Department has decided to issue a stay-home order for Pike County residents starting Sunday, April 5 at 12 a.m. and running through Thursday, April 30.

The order will close all "non-essential" businesses, as defined by the yet-to-be-released order.

No Louisiana Council meetings through April

LOUISIANA – Louisiana City Council will not meet in the month of April, Mayor Marvin Brown told council members in an email Thursday, April 2.

The city will look into remote options for a council meeting in May. City Hall will remain closed through April, with Brown saying he expected the closure to be extended through June 1, depending on how the state approaches license extensions.

“We’ve had inquiries about a city-wide stay at home order. It’s unclear how we would enforce that,” Brown wrote. “I’ve been in contact with the Pike County Health Department and they are planning to make contact with non-essential businesses and make sure they understand what risks they may be invoking. They are also going to continue with a strong message that everyone should just stay home.”

Missouri unemployment claims break 100,000

The Missouri Department of Labor reported 104,230 new unemployment claims in the week ending March 28. That's in addition to 42,207 claims the week before — itself a ten-fold increase over the previous week.

Nationally, 5.8 million claims were filed last week. The seasonally adjusted number — designed to reflect the usually predictable flow of people in and out of the labor force over the course of the year — was 6.6 million on top of 3.3 million the week before.

Lincoln County sees "community spread"

The Lincoln County Health Department is seeing the first cases of COVID-19 apparently contracted within Lincoln County, as opposed to being spread from outside, LCHD reported a message to the public Tuesday, March 31.

As of Wednesday, April 1 the health department was reporting 13 positive cases.

Louisiana off-site school breakfasts consolidated to two sites

Starting Thursday, April 2, Louisiana R-II schools will be providing breakfast at two sites instead of five.

The remaining sites will be the Abel's parking lot at the intersection of Hwy. 54 and Fourth Street and the high school parking lot. The decision, which was announced Wednesday, April 1, was made after the district "evaluated the traffic at each of [their] breakfast sites."

"Please respect social distancing directives – wait to approach the tables until the person ahead of you has left, and take the bag from the table – we are trying to minimize contact. The safer we can be in distributing food, the longer we can provide the service," the announcement read.

Pike County schools will close through May

Pike County superintendents decided to stay closed through May 1 at a virtual meeting with the Pike County Health Department the morning of Wednesday, April 1.

Superintendents will meet to consider extending the closures past May 1 in mid-April.

The last day of school for the Louisiana R-II school district had been scheduled for Thursday, May 14. If school were to resume on Friday May 1 and continue according to that calendar the district would be in session for ten days. Bowling Green is scheduled to end school on May 15; Clopton on May 20 and BONCL on May 14.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sent a memo to Missouri schools Friday, March 27 telling them they would not be required to make up days lost due to COVID-19.

Closure message

A message from Pike County superintendents.

PCMH accepting homemade masks

LOUISIANA – Pike County Memorial Hospital is accepting homemade fabric face masks as pieces of personal protection equipment for healthcare workers run short across the country in the wake of COVID-19.

The masks must be made of 100 percent cotton fabric. Information about how to make the masks can be found online (a one-page set of instructions published by Alina Health, a non-profit operator of hospitals and clinics in Minnesota, can be found at bit.ly/lpj_masks).

Contact Lisa Pitzer by email at lpitzer@pcmhmo.org or by phone 573-754-5531 ext.7154 to set up a time to drop off the masks, which PCMH will then sanitize.

The hospitals supplies have not yet reached the point where they have to begin using the home-made masks, Pitzer said Tuesday morning, but was exploring all options for building up reserves in case the situation worsens.

Pike County reports first case

The first positive test for COVID-19 was reported in Pike County at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 29.

According to the Pike County Health Department the infected individual appeared to have contracted the disease from contact with a confirmed case outside of Pike County.

The patient is currently in home isolation, following guidance issued by the Center for Disease Control. The department said in its announcement that it will not be providing more information about the patient, citing both federal law governing patient privacy and concern about exposing identifying information about a resident of a small, rural community.

“We hope people understand our stance and be assured that the information provided is all that we can provide at this time; and that any other information is not relevant to the message,” Administrator Rhonda Stumbaugh wrote in response to questions from the Press-Journal.

That message: that the whole of the population — and not just people in contact with the confirmed case — need to take precautions.

“We feel it is imperative that everyone needs to continue to do their part in taking steps to stop the spread by following the CDC guidelines. The best way to stay safe during this pandemic is to stay home and avoid contact with others. If you go out for essential needs we continue to recommend that everyone follow social distancing guidelines,” Stumbaugh added.

The health department is working with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to contact people in close contact with the individual and monitor the case.

The positive test was conducted Sunday by Hannibal Regional Medical Center. As of Sunday’s announcement the hospital had tested 42 patients, 35 of whom tested negative, three of whom tested positive and four whose tests results were pending.

The Pike County Health Department said that, given the variety of institutions conducting tests, it will not be able accurately track and announce the number of tests conducted on Pike County residents. It will continue to announce future positive results.

UPDATED: This article was updated Wednesday, April 1 with comments from the Pike County Health Department.

Lincoln County issues stay-home order

A stay-home order has been issued for Lincoln County, Missouri effective Sunday, March 29.

The full text of the order can be found here. The order was issued by the Lincoln County Health Department the Friday, March 27.

The order asks residents to stay in their home except when attending to "essential activities," which includes going to work, getting "necessary services and supplies," and engaging in outdoor activities including "walking, running and hiking" so long as they don't bring the resident within six feet of another person.

People will not need a letter or pass to travel, according to the health department.

Lincoln County reports two COVID-19 cases

Lincoln County reported two positive tests for COVID-19 on Thursday, March 26, according to the Lincoln County Journal.

The Lincoln County Health Department is reaching out to people in close contact with the two infected individuals. The first positive case, a resident in their 40s, appeared to have contracted the virus while traveling, while the source of infection in the second case, a resident in their 70s, is unknown.

The health department reported that the second case came in just hours after they were notified of the first positive test.

State unemployment claims climb ten-fold last week

Numbers newly released by the state Department of Labor show more than ten times as many claims on the states unemployment insurance as the week before.

The state received 3,976 claims the week ending on March 14. On the week ending March 21 it saw 42,207.

Superintendents, health department to meet next week to discuss length of school closures

Pike County school district superintendents will meet next week to discuss how long to keep schools out of session due to concerns about the COVID-19 , Louisiana R-II superintendent Todd Smith said at a school board meeting on Wednesday, March 25.

After a similar meeting last week every Pike County school district agreed to keep students out of classrooms until April 6, while noting that the date was subject to extension as the situation developed.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1.

"Most of the talk around is that we're going to see it extended, probably through the end of the school year," Smith said. "A lot of schools are using the date of April 24, extending to that. If we were to do that, it would leave us with ten days of school left, and it would take five days to settle the kids down."

Smith said at the board meeting that he felt coming to a joint decision with the health department and other Pike County school districts was still the "best method" of deciding how to proceed.

"If we decide to go rogue I'll call a board meeting," Smith said.

R-II food distribution around Louisiana began Tuesday

Ann Murry and Tara Mills get meals ready for distribution Tuesday, March 24 at a site in the parking lot of First Baptist Church.

Ann Murry and Tara Mills get meals ready for distribution Tuesday, March 24 at a site in the parking lot of First Baptist Church.

Wednesday update brings Missouri toll to 356 infected, eight dead

An update by the state health department Wednesday afternoon included another case in a county bordering Pike County.

The Montgomery County case was one of 356 individuals who have tested positive across the state, according to the Missouri Department of Health. So far, eight people have died from the respiratory disease.

Ralls County reports COVID-19 case

The first positive test for COVID-19 in a county neighboring Pike County was reported Tuesday, March 18. Hannibal Regional Medical Center reported two positive results at it's facility, including one Shelby County and one Ralls County resident.

The hospital's announcement said that the Ralls County case appeared to have been contracted elsewhere before the resident returned to their home county. As of Tuesday the patient was self-quarantining at home. The Shelby County case, which is being treated at the hospital, is not believed to have been travel related.

Salt River Community Care, a nursing home in Shelbina, reported that the Shelby County case had been a resident at the nursing home.

Mayor closes City Hall, will work to close on-site dining at bars, restaurants

Louisiana City Hall will be closed through at least the end of April, Louisiana Mayor Marvin Brown announced the morning of Monday, March 23.

Brown added that the city will be ensuring that local bars and restaurants comply with Gov. Mike Parson's social distancing order issued this weekend. The order instructed Missourians to avoid on-site dining while allowing for take-out, drive-through and delivery.

While City Hall is closed Brown encouraged people to pay their city bills online, by mail, by calling in with credit card information or by using the drop-box in the City Hall parking lot. People with an "absolute need" to access somebody in the building should call the city to see what accommodations can be made.

The closure of City Hall will also close the city's on-site license office. Parson has also delayed the expiration of driver's licensees and vehicle registrations for 60 days due to COVID-19.

Emergency blood drive scheduled in Bowling Green

The Red Cross is issuing an emergency call for blood donations as the spread of COVID-19 shuts down blood drives across the country.

A Bowling Green blood drive scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 will allow Pike County residents to do their bit to plug the gap. Initially scheduled for Bowling Green High School, the drive has been moved to Cornerstone Christian Church in Bowling Green, 1620 Business Hwy. 54. It will take places from 12:30 to 6:00 p.m.

The Red Cross reports that its Missouri-Illinois region has seen 235 blood drives cancelled and missed out on 9,600 as of Friday, March 20.

In order to comply with CDC regulations the drive will be limiting the numbers of donors. To make this possible, schedule your appointment ahead of time on redcrossblood.org using the code "BowlingGreenHS" and complete its Rapid Pass pre-registration program the day of the drive.

"You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement," U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on NBC last week.

OATS Transit will provide only essential service starting March 23.

From Monday, March 23, rural transportation provider OATS Transit will limit access to its buses in an effort to slow the spread of the virus while continuing to provide vital services. Its press release is below:

Businesses around the country are scrambling to understand of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to deal with this national crisis. OATS Transit is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety our riders and staff. As the company continues to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, OATS Transit will only be providing essential service transportation starting March 23 through at least April 6. The company will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly in hopes business can soon return to normal.

Essential service transportation is defined as dialysis, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, food banks, etc. “This is a difficult decision and one we are not taking lightly, but it is the right thing to do during this national crisis,” said Dorothy Yeager Executive Director.  Individuals who are sick should stay home.

Several measures have been put into place to ensure the safety of everyone on board the buses:

  • Drivers are doing routine cleaning and disinfecting on the buses throughout the day, and cleaning surfaces that riders may come into contact with.
  • The amount of people on each bus will be limited to ensure safe distances for riders and drivers.
  • Non-essential appointments should be delayed if possible to limit exposure.
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, riders should expect drivers to refrain from touching any personal belongings and packages. We ask riders to be understanding and prepared for this adjustment to our normal routine. 

Pike County Health Department will track measures by local restaurants.

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 while still allowing people to patronize local businesses, the Pike County Health Department is maintaining a list of "social distancing" measures taken by local dining establishments.

Find the list as of March 20 here. The list records whether each restaurant is maintaining dine-in, carry-out, drive-through, curbside and deliver service, along with other details. It will be updated as the situation changes and is not yet comprehensive: the owners of at least two Clarksville eateries, Cherry's Bar and Grill and Clarksville Riverview Restaurant and Bar, indicated Friday that they are also open for business. [03.20.2020]

April Municipal elections pushed back to June.

Local elections planned for Tuesday, April 7, have been pushed back to Tuesday, June 2, Missouri's Secretary of State announced Wednesday, March 18.

Pike County voters had been set to choose Bowling Green's next mayor, members of the Pike County R-III Board of Education and whether to approve two property tax increases in Louisiana, among other issues.

"Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Governor Mike Parson said in a prepared statement. “Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together."

Two local events related to the upcoming election, both scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, have also been cancelled: a forum of candidates for the Pike R-III Board of Education and a town hall to discuss the two tax proposals on the Louisiana ballot. [03.18.20]

COVID-19 Parson

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on March 13 declared a State of Emergency during a press conference in the Governor’s Office which was broadcast live on many 5 pm. television broadcasts. Andrew Housewright, an employee of the Missouri Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents, provided the sign language translation.

Louisiana schools announce plans to provide meals during closure

Free meals will be provided for children 18-and-younger in Louisiana starting Tuesday, March 24, the Louisiana R-II school district announced Wednesday, March 18.

Buses will bring meals to the following sites:

  • B Street and Nebraska Street
  • Abel's Parking Lot at Hwy. 54 and Fourth Street
  • Seventh Street and North Carolina Street
  • Twenty-second street at the Scout House
  • Mary's Street and Georgia Street (old grocery store parking lot)

Breakfast will be served from 7-8 a.m while school is out of session. Lunch can be picked up from noon-1 p.m. People who have no way to reach the pick-up locations are asked to call (573) 754-4261 (central office), (573) 754-6904 (Louisiana Elementary), (573) 754-5340 (Louisiana Middle) or (573) 754-6181) (Louisiana High).

The district is also asking families to provide input on their ability to participate in distance learning over the Internet and on the number of meals they expect to need through an online form. [03.18.20]

Louisiana mayor urges residents to take precautions, provides update on city services

Louisiana Mayor Marvin Brown issued a communication to city residents the morning of Monday, March 18, urging them to follow federal guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and detailing how city government will respond to the crisis. Find the full communication here.

"Look out for your neighbors and make sure they’re OK. We’re a community. Communities look after each other," Brown wrote in part. "If you’re confident that you’re healthy, use smart precautions, but continue to support our local businesses. They’re going to see some challenging times."

Louisiana City Hall will remain open for the time being, but Brown encouraged residents to avoid coming in if they could avoid it. Brown said residents should call health care providers if they feel ill, but added that residents with serious non-medical problems associated with the pandemic could call the city for help at (573) 745-4132.

"If you have some other serious situation, say you’ve been told to stay home but really need to get something, call City Hall and someone will try to talk you through to an appropriate solution," Brown wrote. [03.18.20]

Details released for distance learning at Clopton, PLTC

Clopton schools and the Pike-Lincoln Technical Center will be making educations materials available for students while the schools are out of session, according to a letter sent out by Pike R-III Superintendent Mark Harvey on Tuesday, March 17. Find the full letter here.

Most material will be provided online, but Clopton students who will not be able to access the resources digitally from home can come to the school building on Thursday, March 19 from noon-6 p.m. and Friday, March 20 from 8 a.m.-noon to pick up paper packets. Students can also access lockers to pick up materials during the same windows.

Harvey added that the district was surveying families to gauge the need in the district for continuing food service while school is out of session. Families that anticipate that a prolonged period without school meals would pose a hardship should contact the district's food service department by 9 a.m. Thursday, March 19 at 485-2488, 242-3546 ext. 305 or reidj@clopton.k12.mo.us.

The letter also provided contact information for district administrators for families that need "critical support" while school is out of session. [03.18.20]

Pike County school districts will close through April 6

Superintendents of school districts across Pike County announced Monday, March 16 that their schools will remain shut through Friday, April 3, with students tentatively scheduled to return on Monday, April 6. [Louisiana R-II announcement] [Bowling Green R-I announcement] [03.16.20]


RESOURCES.

24-hour Missouri COVID-19 hotline: 877-435-8411

Missouri Testing Sites

How to Protect Yourself (Center for Disease Control)

If You Think You are Sick (Center for Disease Control)

15 Days to Slow the Spread (White House)

Pike County Updates (Pike County Health Department)

COVID-19 in Missouri (Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)

COVID-19 in Illinois (Illinois Department of Public Health)

Louisiana residents can call City Hall at (573) 745-4132 for help with non-medical emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Police officers may be able to pick up prescriptions from the Family Drug location in Louisiana. (link to letter from Mayor Marvin Brown).

COVID-19 Restaurant Service as of March 23

From the Pike County Health Department: "This flyer is a complimentary service of the Pike County Health Department. Establishments listed are ones who our Environmentalist has been able to make contact with in order to get the required information. If your business is not listed please call Stefanie Davis at 573-324-2111 ext. 113 or email sdavis@pikecountyhealth.org." Updated as of Monday, March 23.


CLOSURES AND RESTRICTIONS.

Pike County Memorial Hospital: Closed to outside visitors and vendors. Each patient will be limited to one visitor per day between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Patients and visitors should enter through the Emergency Department entrance on the western side of the building. (update as of March 15)

Bowling Green R-I School District: Closed through Friday, April 3

Louisiana R-II School District: Closed through Friday, April 3

Pike County R-III School District (Clopton, Pike-Lincoln Technical Center): Closed through Friday, April 3.

BONCL R-X School District: Closed through Friday, April 3

Louisiana City Hall: Open only for essential visits. Do not come in if you are ill. Bills and fines can be paid online, by mail, over the phone using a credit card or by using the drop box in the City Hall Parking lot. (link to letter from Mayor Marvin Brown).

Pike County Courthouse: Access restricted — call for assistance. (link to story)

Louisiana Municipal Court: Cancelled for March, with hearings postponed until May. No decision has been made on whether April court dates will be held. (link to letter from Mayor Marvin Brown).

OATS Transit: Only accepting "essential" trips and limiting the number of riders on a bus. (link)

Trimble House: Closed starting 4 p.m. on Monday, March 23. For people who rely on the Trimble House to provide medical equipment the house board and staff has provided an emergency contact number: 573-470-9569.

Louisiana Public Library: Closed to public traffic from Monday March 23 to at least Friday, April 3. Use outside dropbox for returns. Librarians will be in the building on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. to help patrons access resources from outside the building. Librarians may be able to allow access to computers on a limited basis if absolutely necessary. Call 573-754-4491 for assistance.


CANCELLATIONS.

The following events have been cancelled or postponed due to concerns about COVID-19. The federal government currently recommends against social gatherings of 10 or more people.

Ribs on the River (Louisiana): Scheduled for May 15-16. Cancelled.

Louisiana City Council: Scheduled for March 23. Cancelled.

April Municipal Elections: Postponed from April 7 to June 2. (Announcement from Secretary of State)

'Laundry and Bourbon' and 'Lone Star': The pair of one-act plays scheduled for Saturday, March 28, Sunday, Mach 29, Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 at the Apple Shed in Clarksville has been postponed to a date to be determined.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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