On Monday, local officials will announce the “Do the Right Thing, Wear A Mask” campaign.

Livingston County leaders are joining to strongly request all residents wear cloth face coverings when out in public where social distancing is difficult to maintain. This plea comes after an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county over the past several weeks. Local leaders want to stop the spread of the virus now, so our county can continue to move forward in the process of re-opening, rather than go back to the restrictions in place a few months ago.

Rural areas are not immune to the increase in COVID-19 sweeping the nation, as we have seen in the last few weeks. Across the United States, cities, counties, and states are asking for the universal use of masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Top health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and numerous healthcare systems also recommend wearing masks.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

Handwashing, covering your cough, staying home when sick, social distancing and wearing a mask in public when social distancing is not possible have been among the prevention measures discussed and recommended by the health center since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It is not too late to flatten the curve locally,” Sherry Weldon, administrator of the Livingston

County Health Center said. “We urge everyone to be cautious and considerate of others right now and do the right thing by wearing a mask in public. Every citizen in our county can help by making masks a regular part of everyday activities.”

Those joining the health center in this request include City of Chillicothe officials; Chillicothe R-II

Schools; Livingston County Commissioners; Hedrick Medical Center, Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce and Greater Chillicothe Visitor’s Region.

“Our community works best when we work together,” Chillicothe Mayor Theresa Kelly said. “Taking personal responsibility to wear a mask will help our businesses stay open, keep our friends and neighbors on the job and allow our kids to go back to school safely.”

City Administrator Darin Chappell agrees: “I believe, as a community, we have to come together to lessen the spread of this infectious disease. The city is united with the county, and the health

department leadership in trying to encourage people to consider how we can best make it a reality for our children to return to school in the safest, and most effective way possible.”

Chillicothe R-II Schools Superintendent Dan Wiebers encourages the wearing of masks, as to keep the community healthy and allow schools to reopen in the next several weeks.

“The Chillicothe R-II School District anticipates opening school buildings on August 25 to provide

services to the youth of our community. For a successful re-opening to occur, the district must have healthy parents, teachers, staff, and students. Please wear a mask when necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and allow the Hornets to return to the hallways of our schools,” Wiebers said.

Disposable masks and signs encouraging wearing a mask are available at the Livingston County Health Center. Executive Director of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce, Crystal Narr will also be providing more information about local resources including masks for businesses to help promote the campaign.

For questions about COVID-19 symptoms or testing, call Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services COVID-19 Hotline at 877-435-8411.