Local health professionals stress social distancing as COVID-19 cases rise

Expert breaks down social distancing

CARTHAGE, Mo. – As the number of confirmed cases in the four-states rises, local health officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing.

“What it entails is what it means. Just staying away from people in general, other than your household family members,” says Larry Bergner with the Newton County Health Department.

So that means avoiding large groups of 10 or more people, staying six feet away from people other than household family, and staying home.

For many, like a lot of us at KOAM and Fox 14, that includes working from home.

Something that can be inconvenient at times, but is worth it.

“It’s definitely worth it because I worry about you all the time on a regular basis, let alone when something like this in the world is happening,” says Kelly Dodge, Reporter Zach Dodge’s wife.

And Burgner says staying home is one of the best things anyone can do.

“What we’re trying to do is keep the virus from replicating in our communities and exposing those so that our hospitals don’t become overrun if more and more people were to get sick and need hospital care,” says Bergner.

He also says people that feel well should still observe social distancing guidelines because people can get COVID-19 and be contagious before they start to have symptoms.

“You are exposing many individuals, who then will then go expose many more. And that’s why we see the infected numbers increasing dramatically from day to day,” says Bergner.

So while it’s not a time to panic, it is a time to think of everyone in the community.

“We want to thank the citizens for following those guidelines because each person has a duty to protect those around them,” says Bergner.