Late yesterday, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health learned that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 is an employee of Circle K at 3700 Elm Street in St. Charles. The store closed voluntarily, and Public Health Department epidemiologists are investigating and screening known contacts.
We know it is scary to know of exposure, or even possible exposure, to a pandemic virus, but it is extremely important that the public not panic. There are many factors to consider regarding risk, and there are ways to help minimize that risk.
First, the more time that someone interacts with a person who has COVID-19, the more likely a transmission. Convenience store interactions are generally brief. In every instance, maintaining a distance of 6 feet from another is extremely important, especially if those interactions are longer. Here is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about spread.
There are published reports and other evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can live on surfaces for days and potentially weeks. Surfaces and items touched by people with COVID-19, and even people without COVID-19, do contribute to the spread of the disease when those surfaces are not sanitized and/or hands are not cleaned.
This is why everyone should remain, or immediately become, much more diligent about regularly washing their hands, not touching their face and cleaning or sanitizing frequent touch surfaces such as cell phones, desktops, doorknobs, keyboards, and all the examples that have been given by many sources for many weeks. People with these behaviors will have lessened their risk.
While the Department of Public Health does contact tracing about persons who have tested positive, it is not possible for department staff to identify every person who may have entered Circle K in the past two or more weeks due to the nature who paid at the pump, paid in cash, etc. If you were in the store in the past two weeks, please monitor your health.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as dry cough and fever, isolate yourself from others and call a healthcare provider. People who visited the store but do not have symptoms do not need to self-quarantine unless they notice COVID-19 symptoms. If you have questions, call the St. Charles County Public Health Information Hotline at 636-949-1899, or visit sccmo.org/COVID for more information.
The St. Charles County Department of Public Health follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html) for managing contacts of positive Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.