With recent rise in COVID-19 cases, Johnson County, Missouri, to requiring face masks

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. – Johnson County, Missouri, has had a recent surge in confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. This has prompted Johnson County Community Health Services to implement a face covering mandate.

This order goes into effect beginning at midnight on Monday, July 6.

The countywide order will continue for 21 days, expiring at midnight on Tuesday, July 28.  JCCHS said this timeline can be rescinded or extended as necessary.

The order requires individuals to wear a face covering in any indoor public location including but not limited to retail stores, grocery stores, offices, places of worship and restaurants/bars.

Businesses can supply face coverings if they have the ability to provide them, but can require individuals to bring their own.

In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public gathering places when social distancing is not an option.

As of June 30, 2020, Johnson County, Missouri, has experienced a 32.8 percent increase of confirmed cases over a 10 day period.

“The health, safety and wellness for our communities are our biggest priorities. The recent spike in numbers has caused us to implement additional safety precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Mary Thaut, JCCHS administrator. “We understand that wearing a face covering is not the most comfortable, but this is a necessary step to help keep our communities safe.

“We also understand the importance to our economy by keeping local businesses open. We want our community members to continue staying active. Requiring face coverings temporarily is an additional tool that each person can use to help protect each other. However, this should not replace other precautions such as social distancing.”

The need for face coverings is based on the percentage of those who are unaware they have COVID-19.

Research shows that 25 to 80 percent of individuals are asymptomatic. They do not know they are carrying the active virus. This allows the coronavirus to spread more rapidly, making it more important to wear a face covering to protect those around them.

Exceptions to wearing face covering include:

  • Those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Children younger than 5 years old. Children who are younger than 2 years old should never wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.
  • Children who are 2-4 years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear a face covering at all times in settings where it is likely that a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained from non-household members and where the vulnerable population may be present.
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to persons with a medical condition in which wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • Individuals seating in a restaurant or bar actively engaged in consuming food or drink, but only when adequately distanced from others.

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