DHSS reinforces continued message of importance of using COVID-19 prevention measures during gatherings

    Fall weather has arrived, and although the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) encourages taking activities outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, this does not imply that prevention measures should be ignored.

    “As Gov. Parson and I say each week, COVID-19 is still here among us,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “We want people to be able to engage in enjoyable activities, but do so safely to avoid the virus being spread which will only lead to more illness and social isolation.”
    Williams continually reminds Missourians to practice social distancing. “Remaining six feet apart from others continues to be very important today, just like it was in the beginning of this,” he said. “If you can’t maintain this distance from others, be sure to wear a mask.” Williams also stresses the importance of proper handwashing or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    DHSS recently launched a series of public service announcements that tell the unique firsthand stories of Missourians who have survived COVID-19. They are sharing their stories to help reduce stigma surrounding the virus and those who contract it.
    Ryan Bibb of Bowling Green, Missouri spent his Memorial Day weekend with a large group of extended family members. He discovered he may have been exposed to a positive case prior to the weekend.
    “I went into Memorial Day weekend not knowing anything was wrong,” said Bibb. “Our tradition in my family has always been that we gather together to go to the cemetery and honor the fallen veterans. On the way home, I just felt a little off, felt a little tired, a little drained.”
    He decided to be tested for the virus, and although he felt better the following day, he learned then that he tested positive. As the week went on, one of his children also tested positive and then multiple family members who attended the gathering also contracted COVID-19. 
    “I have known people that have passed away due to COVID,” he said. “Is it pretty serious for their loved ones? Absolutely. I can objectively look at it outside of myself and say there’s cause for concern.”
    Learn more about COVID-19 and how to stay safe at health.mo.gov/coronavirus.