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Two positive for COVID-19 attended CHS graduation-prom

Angie Talken
atalken@chillicothenews.com
Chillicothe News

Two people with positive COVID-19 test results were in attendance at both Chillicothe High School’s Graduation Ceremony on July 24 or Chillicothe High School Prom on July 25, according to a statement from the Livingston County Health Center, which made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

According to Dan Wiebers, superintendent of Chillicothe R-II School District said there were 120 graduates who each had six tickets to give to family and friends. Wiebers said there were possibly as many as 840 people in attendance.

“Through guidance from the health department, social distancing guidelines were used during the ceremony,” Wiebers said. “Families had sections of seats that were socially distanced from other families. Graduates were seated six feet apart.”

Wiebers did not have an estimate on the number of people at prom for the grand march, he said there were 80 couples in attendance at prom on Saturday night.

According to the press release, health center staff have contacted individuals who were in close contact with the two positive cases.

“If you attended either prom or graduation, please monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 and do your best to stay isolated from other people for 14 days,” Ann Burchett, public information supervisor said. “COVID-19 affects different people in different ways.”

Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization. Most common symptoms include: fever; dry cough; tiredness; aches and pains; sore throat; diarrhea; conjunctivitis; headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; chest pain or pressure; loss of speech or movement.

On average it takes five-six days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however, it can take up to 14 days.

If you have specific concerns of close contact and have not been called, call the health center at 646- 5506 between the hours of 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1- 4 p.m. If you have general questions about isolation and quarantine, please call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Toll-Free COVID-19 Hotline at 877-435-8411.

“Avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent the illness as there is currently no vaccine and no medications available to prevent or treat COVID-19,” Burchett said.

There are everyday preventable actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-10 and many other respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with people, especially those who are sick, also known as “social distancing”;
  • Voluntary home isolation: stay home at least 24 hours after a fever or signs of a fever are gone, without the use of fever-reducing medicines, as well as other known signs of the illness;
  • Wear a mask in public places to avoid asymptomatic spread of the virus. It is also beneficial to wear a mask when traveling by car for more than 15 minutes with anyone at higher risk;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash; and
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

While voluntarily isolating at home, proper respiratory etiquette and good hand hygiene are important, there are other ways to help prevent the spread of disease. Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces with appropriate detergent-based cleaners or disinfectants and increase the frequency of cleaning.

Additional information and updates about COVID-19 are available online at

https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 50 cases of COVID-19 in Livingston County and 28 in Linn County.

All of the Constitution-Tribune’s Coronavirus coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the C-T at www.chillicothenews.com/subscribenow to help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.