St. Louis County health department issues Lake of Ozarks travel advisory

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Posted at 6:01 PM, May 25, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Department of Public Health issued a travel advisory “after social distancing rules (were) flouted at the Lake of the Ozarks” during Memorial Day weekend, according to press release sent Monday.

“Recent news reports indicate that many people, including those from the St. Louis region, did not follow any protective practices over the holiday weekend,” the department said.

It urges those who chose not to adhere to social-distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local health departments, to voluntarily self-quarantine for the next two weeks or until testing negative for COVID-19.

“This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said in a statement. “I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace.”

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The travel advisory applies to people who ignored the recommended six feet of social distancing from other people or were around others who were not wearing face masks – behaviors health experts believe increase the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission.

The health department's primary concern is that individuals may have become infected without knowing it and will spread the virus at work or in the community this week.

Many people who contract the virus don’t show any symptoms, but they can still pass it on to other people, including older people and those with compromised immune systems who are more likely to experience complications from COVID-19.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department told 41 Action News it has no plans to issue a similar travel advisory. However, Dr. Rex Archer, KCMO Health Department director, tweeted Monday night that anyone who did not follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies should " self quarantine for 14 days if they have any compassion for others."

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a statement that he was "disappointed to see the scenes" from the Lake of the Ozarks, but does not intend to order residents who ventured to the area to quarantine.

“I have great respect for my peers in St. Louis County," Lucas said, "but we have no plans to issue a quarantine order we simply cannot enforce. I ask anyone at the lake this weekend to follow social distancing and other guidelines in place upon their return to Kansas City to limit the spread of COVID-19. If anyone suspects exposure or illness, please call a health provider immediately.“