Editor's note: This article has been updated to include additional comments from JoAnn Martin.

The first diagnosed case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Pettis County on Thursday.

According to the Pettis County Health Center, a Pettis County resident has a confirmed case of coronavirus. The individual and family are self-isolating at home. 

“The Pettis County Health Center is working to identify who had direct contact with the person,” Pettis County Health Director JoAnn Martin said in a news release. “Identified contacts will be placed in a 14-day self-quarantine, provided instructions on how to monitor their health and will be followed by health center staff twice a day to check on their health. Individuals with direct contact who develop symptoms will be referred for testing.

“We understand this is a stressful time for all Pettis County residents,” Martin continued. “Please be sure you are getting your information from a reputable source such as the Pettis County Health Center website at www.pettiscountyhealthcenter.com, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at www.health.mo.gov and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.”

Martin asked residents to continue to stay home, wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer, avoid crowds and check on neighbors.  

“If you are ill with symptoms of a fever, cough or trouble breathing, please call your health care provider,” Martin said. 

Martin said citizens without a health care provider can contact the Bothwell Regional Health Center Walk In Clinic at 660-827-7900 or Katy Trail Community Health at 877-733-5824. Citizens should not go to a clinic without calling first.

“The arrival of the first case in Pettis County is not an unanticipated event,” Martin told the Democrat by email. 

“As a community, we have been practicing more comprehensive social distancing for about a week,” she continued. “We have all become more aware of the need to stay home and wash our hands. People who are being diagnosed today probably were exposed before we were seriously practicing social distancing. In order to stop the spread in our community, we need to be even more careful about maintaining social distance, good handwashing and above all stay home if you are sick.”

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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