The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) recently activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. The hotline opened at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 11, and 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.
“Communication is vital to our response to this rapidly-evolving situation,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “For several weeks, our COVID-19 webpage has been and continues to be a great resource for the public, but having the hotline as an additional resource will likely be invaluable as citizens seek guidance for their concerns.”
To date, 215 patients in Missouri have been tested for the virus that causes COVID-19; eight of those have tested positive.
“It is important to know what to do if you have concerns about an illness during this outbreak,” said Williams. “For those who may be at risk for COVID-19, we encourage them to utilize this hotline or call their health care provider or local public health agency to inform them of their travel history and symptoms. They’ll be instructed on how to receive care without exposing others to the possible illness.”
Simple preventive actions that help prevent the spread of all types of respiratory viruses include:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
For more information, visit www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus or the CDC’s COVID-19 website.