Welcome to the city of St Joseph's weekly digital newsletter. City Link is your source for timely and relevant information from your local government.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Classifications of COVID-19 Cases

As of last Monday, COVID-19 cases in Buchanan County are being classified as either confirmed or probable in accordance with a directive from the Centers for Disease Control . The classification of either confirmed or probable is based on the following criteria and definition:

  • Confirmed Case – A COVID-19 confirmed case meets the confirmed laboratory evidence, which is the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a clinical specimen using an approved detection test verified by a certified testing laboratory.
  • Probable Case – A COVID-19 probable case meets clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence (close contact with a confirmed or probable case; travel to or residence in an area with sustained, ongoing community spread; or a member of a risk cohort as defined by public health authorities during an outbreak), with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.

A probable case would also include a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.
Reporting of COVID-19 cases through the health department will include both the confirmed and probable cases in Buchanan County. As a result of this change in reporting, the numbers of COVID-19 cases will likely increase more substantially. At this time, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MO-DHSS) is only reporting information on confirmed cases and will not be reporting those meeting the definition of probable cases. This will result in differing numbers of cases reported in Buchanan County.

For more information, call the COVID-19 call center at 271-4613
Playing It Safe

As a reminder, the playgrounds at the local parks are closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It is not certain how long the virus which causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. Recent studies have suggested the virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. Playground equipment is extremely difficult to keep sanitized and safe for people to use as it has been suggested surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected every time they are touched by someone. It is important for parents and guardians to help children and teenagers understand and follow this temporary closure.

Open spaces in the parks and the hike and bike trails can continue to be used in a safe manner which allows people to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits these spaces provide. However, it is extremely important for users to refrain from using these spaces if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Additionally, while using the trails and open spaces, be sure to notify other users of your presence and step aside to allow others to pass. Allow a safe distance of six feet when others are near you. To give perspective, this would be about the length of a yoga mat, adult bike or even a walking stick. When possible, use these areas by yourself or those you live with. Try to avoid crowded areas. If the park or trail in your neighborhood cannot be enjoyed safely, discover a new park or trail in the community. There are over 20 miles of hike and bike trails you can walk, run or ride. 

The health and safety of residents is a priority for the parks and recreation department staff and they thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Still Rolling Around Town

St. Joseph Transit or “The Ride” continues to keep customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ride staff is working hard to provide a clean and safe bus ride by taking extra precautions daily on every bus currently running. With the current shelter-in-place order, residents are continuing to respect the order and are only leaving their homes for the necessities. Community-wide, roadways and the transit system ridership are down as residents make the effort to stay at home. To adapt to this reduction in service need, measures are in place to safeguard transit employees from unnecessary contact to the extent possible while still preserving transportation access and mobility needs of the public. Since March 27, St. Joseph Transit has made the following changes:

  • Hours of service remain the same, however pickup times could be adjusted within that hour.
  • Customers who previously rode buses 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18 are now required to call 233-6700 for a deviation. There will be no fixed routes in these areas.   
  • Routes 13, 14 and 15 will remain fixed routes with deviations as riders use them on a daily basis. These buses provide hourly service to Mosaic, Hy-Vee, each Walmart, as well as most medical office complexes. 
  • On the current route map, the tan, purple and blue indicate areas that will not change. The salmon, green, beige, yellow and pink shaded areas indicate portions of the city previously served by fixed route, which now requires a deviation. Call 233-6700 with questions or to schedule a ride. The extra route deviation charge will be waived within the designated zones for the duration of the emergency.
Outdoor Safety

Though it feels like winter has come back for a visit this week, more spring-like weather will be here before we know it and more people will head out to enjoy the outdoors. Here are a couple of safety tips to keep in mind.

Grill Safety : Emergency room physicians see firsthand the dangers associated with an outdoor grill. Thoroughly clean a grill of any grease or dust. Check the tubes leading into the burner for any blockages from insects or food grease that can cause an uncontrolled fire. Replace any connectors which can lead to a gas leak and keep lighted cigarettes, matches or open flames away from a leaking grill. Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or near any surface that can catch fire. Also, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the grill. 

Sun Safety : Protect against sunburns by wearing sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it generously throughout the day. Wear a hat outdoors and a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Drink plenty of water, especially when in the sun or if you are sweating heavily. If you feel faint or nauseous, get into a cool place immediately. 
Road Work on the Belt Highway

Herzog Contracting Corp., contracted through MoDOT, has begun a multi-month resurfacing project of Belt Highway from Interstate 29 (at Exit 50) to Route FF. During the first phase, work will take place Monday-Saturday during daylight hours as one lane in each direction will remain open. Work is weather permitting. Motorists may notice delays as the use of the center turn lane could be restricted and some side streets will be temporarily closed during this project. For more information about this project, visit   www.modot.org/northwest   or call 888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).
(816) 271-5300