As people and agencies across the world respond to the coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19, we must also be vigilant here in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Whether we’re working to stop or slow the spread of coronavirus or the common flu, we must continue observing good hygiene and housekeeping practices that protect our homes, workplaces and our most vulnerable populations.
Following the release of the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America this afternoon, the City of Cape Girardeau is postponing City events, modifying programs, and closing customer service offices to the general public for a period lasting through at least April 3. All essential services, such as public safety and public works, will continue operating. The City encourages people to use online or telephone contacts while some offices are closed to the general public.
Facility & Service Impacts as of March 17:
- City Hall – All public offices, including Customer Service/utility billing and Development Services are closed to the public. We are now accepting utility bill payments by phone, in addition to the online and auto-payment options. New and transfer services can also be initiated online. A secure dropbox is also located near City Hall’s Customer Service entrance for cash/check payments. Disconnects for non-payment have been postponed so all households will have water for hygiene purposes.
- Community Centers – A.C. Brase Arena, Osage Centre, and Shawnee Park Center including their meeting rooms, gym floors, fitness facilities and other common spaces and offices are closed to the public. Rentals and Parks & Recreation Department-organized programs have been postponed or cancelled.
- Police Department – Closed to visitors (includes meetings, public programs, tours, and car seat inspection/installations) – see related announcement on Facebook.
- Fire Department – Closed to visitors (includes meetings, public programs, and tours) – see related announcement on Facebook
- Public Works – Closed to visitors
- Municipal Court – Cancelled through April 3; the Court office will send out summonses with new court dates. The office is open but is anticipated to close.
- Municipal Jail – No visitors to inmates, with the exception of attorney-client visitation.
Coronavirus is a respiratory virus, which is similar to other viruses including seasonal influenza. The Cape Girardeau County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has provided the following guidance regarding measures to prevent exposures to acute respiratory illnesses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, please stay home.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Follow normal respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
- Follow normal environmental health actions. Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects such as: door knobs, countertop surfaces, workplace equipment, etc.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The hotline can be reached at 877-435-8411. The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website. From their website, “Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.” If you have traveled to any of the affected areas or been in contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please review the CDC guidance.
The City of Cape Girardeau and its community partners are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared to respond to a public health emergency should it arise.