Knox County health officials, schools hope to keep COVID at bay as area numbers go up

Knox County health officials, schools hope to keep COVID at bay as area numbers go up

KNOX COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) — Not all counties in the Tri-States are seeing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, and they’d like to keep it that way.

The Knox County, Missouri Health Department [KCHD] and the school district officials said they’re at the forefront of that fight.

KCHD officials said it starts at places like Knox County Schools, where administrators are telling students how to stop spread.

They said right now it is critical as more cases pop up around the region, they’re hoping to keep things as low as possible as there are just 5 active cases in the county as of Tuesday night.

“It’s my senior year in high school, so if I can help keep us in school and help sports, because I know I like being in the gym, and being on the baseball field, running the track. So if we can stay here as long as possible that’s my goal,” said Knox County Senior Bryston Bowen.

He said it’s things like basketball games and parents socially distanced in the stands that he’s hoping to protect.

That’s a message the Knox County High School Athletic Director Keith Gudehus said they’re doubling down on as teams come to play.

“We try to stress to them, make sure that they do a self assessment every morning when they get out of bed, make sure they feel well before they put themselves on a bus and come into school,” said Gudehus.

At the KCHD, they said they’re trying to be prepared for the storm.

“You’re not going to hold out forever, it’s coming for you, so we’re trying to stay vigilant,” said KCHD Administrator Lori Moots-Claire.

She said the message of staying home when you have symptoms is critical.

“Our young people, when they practice and practice they want to play so if they make the choice to come forward and say hey I’m sick I can’t be there, we want to commend those kids, we want to commend those parents,” said Moots-Claire.

“I mean it’s not that hard to wear a mask out in public, if you have one, put it on, it’s going to help us all out in the long run,” said Bowen.

Moots-Claire said even if you think it’s just seasonal allergies or stuffiness, getting it checked out is better than making friends and family sick, she said to call the KCHD at 660-397-3396 if you have concerns.

Mason Alley, Emergency Planner for several Northeast Missouri counties, including Knox, said staying home and contacting health officials is critical when you have those symptoms.

“Maybe this might be the time of year where we need to postpone activities to a later date, or move them to a new directive, say through virtual meetings, or maybe just reducing the size of the gathering,” said Alley.

He said it’s an especially critical message as we approach events like Halloween, indoor sporting events, and other holidays.

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