Press Release

 — As research and development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines continue to show promising safety and effectiveness findings, Governor Mike Parson today announced the launch of a new vaccine website for Missouri residents. provides Missourians with information regarding the safety of the vaccines, research and production processes, and when they may be eligible for vaccination. The website will also offer additional functionality as vaccines become available.

“It’s been remarkable to learn about the work that has been going on for many months now among scientists and researchers, many of whom are right here in Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “The most important thing we’ve learned about the accelerated development process is that steps have not been eliminated but are instead occurring simultaneously. Safety is not being sacrificed, and it’s important for Missourians to understand this.”

The new website includes answers to common questions Missouri residents may have, such as when they will be able to receive the vaccine and how well it works. It also clarifies misinformation that citizens may have heard about the vaccines.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and partners across the state continue to make preparations in advance of a vaccine arrival, which is anticipated to occur prior to the end of 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has identified the purposes of a COVID-19 vaccine as:

  • Decrease death and serious disease,
  • Preserve functioning of society,
  • Reduce extra burden that COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities, and
  • Increase the chance for everyone to enjoy health and well-being.

A vaccine will initially become available in a limited quantity once it is proven safe and effective, approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA, and when the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has provided its recommendations on the use of the vaccines.

In August, a large group of more than 75 state team members, 10 Missouri National Guardsmen, and 50 federal and local partners began working together to develop Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine response plan. The plan was finalized and submitted to the CDC in October.

“Missouri got a very early start preparing for vaccinations because we think it’s our best path to getting to a better place,” DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said. “This process is one that has continued to evolve, and we are committed to providing Missourians with the information they need as quickly as we can provide it. Information is empowering, and personal choices made during this public health emergency can positively impact yourself, those around you, and your entire community.”

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine developments, visit

Waiting on our call?

As community transmission cases in our county continue to increase, it is becoming more difficult for healthcare providers to contact positive cases the same day results are received. We have made some changes within our calling procedures to help streamline and make our necessary calls more efficient. We also appreciate the patience of our community as we work through this influx of cases.

If you have received a positive test result it is critical that you self-isolate at home, even if you have not heard from the health department yet. The same is true if you know you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19; you need to begin a 14-day quarantine starting from the last day of exposure. More information on isolation and quarantine can be found on our website under the Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines tab.

PCHD case investigations are prioritized to meet the state ordered mandates. The current state mandates require that PCHD completes case investigations for school age youth, cases associated with a school exposure, individuals 65+ years old, and cases associated with a long-term care facility before other cases. Cases that do not fall into these categories will likely experience a delay in initial contact.

For basic COVID-19 information you can call the Missouri COVID-19 Hotline 7 days a week from 7am-9pm at 877-435-8411. You may also use our COVID-19 contact form online, or call our office at 573-324-2111 ext. 135. If you are in need of a release letter for work or school you may use our online form or call our office 573-324-2111 ext. 140.

Any gatherings without precautions should be avoided in the coming months. These high-risk interactions can cause COVID-19 to spread rapidly through multiple households. This puts the entire community at risk as people are considered contagious 2 days before they develop symptoms.

Precautions you can take are simple:
• Stay 6 feet apart from those who do not live with you
• Wear a mask
• Wash your hands

Once again, we are urging Pike County residents to take personal action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our staff has been working tirelessly for the past 9 months, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, but we cannot do it without your help. Your willingness to participate in mitigation strategies has a direct impact on our ability keep the rest of our community healthy and thriving.

Governor Parson Highlights Missouri COVID-19 Data


October 21, 2020

Governor Parson Highlights Missouri COVID-19 Data

Provides Additional Background on Case Counts, Deaths, Positivity Rate

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – During today’s weekly briefing at the State Capitol, Governor Mike Parson provided additional background to help explain Missouri’s COVID-19 data and calculations used in comparison to other sources.

“With so many different methods and calculations, providing real-time data at this quantity and level of detail comes with its own set of challenges,” Governor Parson said. “However, we have continually worked to be transparent, address these challenges, and provide Missourians with the most accurate and up-to-date information as possible, and we remain committed to helping citizens understand the impact of COVID-19 on our state.”

Since early COVID-19 reporting in March, Governor Parson’s administration and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) have worked to share context surrounding the numbers that are reported and added each day to the public health dashboard. Acknowledgments have consistently been provided to explain drastic shifts in the numbers when they exist.

Testing and Positive Cases

For example, on some occasions, DHSS ingests a “dump” of a high number of test records from a laboratory or provider that has accumulated over a period of time, either due to lack of understanding of reporting requirements or technical malfunctions. This can sometimes result in a spike of positive cases that did not all occur within a 24-hour time frame but rather over a period of several days.

Similarly, DHSS has also consistently seen a decrease in the number of tests, and therefore cases, reported on weekends compared to weekdays. This cycle causes non-representative dips and spikes in the numbers each day on the dashboard as those samples are tested and reported by labs.

COVID-19 Deaths

Similar situations also occur with reported COVID-19 deaths. For instance, approximately once per week, DHSS analyzes incoming death certificates and links COVID-19 associated deaths with the appropriate cases in the state’s disease surveillance system. Those that had not already been reported to the state by another entity are then captured and reported publicly through the dashboard. This activity typically causes a sharp increase in the deaths added to Missouri’s total the following day, which is most often on Saturdays.

For these reasons, Governor Parson and DHSS encourage individuals to follow the past 7-day trends for all data sets and how these trends have changed over time to get a better sense of COVID-19’s impact in the state.

Positivity Rates

Nationally and locally, there has also been much focus on positivity rates. Positivity rates are an important metric used by public health experts to understand the spread of COVID-19 despite the “ups and downs” of total testing numbers from week to week.

However, multiple methods are used to calculate positivity rate, so rates often vary depending on the source and how. Many states calculate the rate differently which means comparing the rates reported out by each individual state is often misleading. Some states do not report positivity rates at all.

To date, DHSS has used a conservative method to calculate positivity rate. DHSS “de-duplicates” testing data, meaning that only a person’s first positive or negative test is counted. This method can cause recent positivity rate measures to appear higher than they would if other methods were used.

For example, the 7-day positivity rate as of today excludes individuals who tested negative in the past week if they have already tested negative at any point since the start of the pandemic. Over 900,000 Missourians have been tested more than once since March, so many negative test results are not counted in more recent 7-day positivity rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses a different methodology. This method simply takes the total number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests. The rate is lower using this method because it does not “de-duplicate” individuals who have been tested multiple times since March.

Both methods can help public health authorities understand the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. Beginning today, DHSS will report both positivity rates on the public health dashboard.

The CDC provides more information on the different ways to calculate positivity rate on its website.


Contact: Kelli R. Jones

Communications Director

Work:  573-751-0765

Mobile: 573-508-9072



Clarksville Flu Shot Clinic Scheduled

Each year we offer flu shot clinics around our county to make it easier for residents to receive their flu shots. This year, the flu vaccine is more important than ever before
PCHD and DHSS urges Missourians to get vaccinated. In a typical year, over 100,000 Missourians become sick from the flu. Many Missourians of all ages become seriously ill and some are hospitalized. 2020 is anything but typical, and state health officials are urging Missourians to get the flu vaccine by the end of October.

Join us for our upcoming flu shot clinic:

Clarksville City Hall Park
111 Howard Street, Clarksville, MO 63336
Friday, October 9th
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Medicare, Medicaid, Most Insurances and Private pay accepted.

Download this flyer >>>


OR visit our Walk-In clinic with no appointment necessary during our Walk-In Clinic hours:

Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

This year, the flu vaccine is more important than ever before

This year, the flu vaccine is more important than ever before
DHSS urges Missourians to get vaccinated

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — In a typical year, over 100,000 Missourians become sick from the flu. Many Missourians of all ages become seriously ill and some are hospitalized. 2020 is anything but typical, and state health officials are urging Missourians to get the flu vaccine by the end of October.

“We always put individual patients first, and because of that, we are concerned that fewer than half of Missouri adults typically get a flu vaccine. This year, we want to do better. Do it for yourself, or do it to protect your loved ones,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). “As the Governor has said, we are not powerless against COVID-19. This also applies to the flu. One measure you can take to protect yourself during this time of COVID-19 is to get a flu vaccine.”

Symptoms of flu and COVID-19 significantly overlap one another. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. It is unknown how a person could be affected by experiencing both viruses at the same time.

“To ensure our state has the capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, we need to do whatever we can to prevent strain on our health care system and keep Missourians healthy,” said  Williams. “Flu vaccines are therefore important to the COVID-19 fight. Preventing flu means fewer unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations. Preventing flu also reduces disruptions to our daily lives – at home, at work, at school.”

DHSS is working closely with local public health agencies to increase immunization rates among adult populations who are most at risk for contracting COVID-19. Ancillary supplies and vaccine transport coolers have also been purchased for local providers to host adult flu vaccine clinics or offer curbside or drive-through clinics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided Missouri with an additional 300,000 adult flu vaccines to meet what is expected to be an increased demand.

“While the effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year, studies have shown some protection is better than none at all,” said Williams. “You are less likely to spread the virus to those around you if vaccinated, and it has also been shown to cause symptoms to be more mild if you do become infected.”

Groups of people at high risk for flu-related complications include children age 5 and under, adults older than 65, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions such  as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Those who are in a high risk group and experience symptoms of the flu should contact their primary health care provider.

Flu vaccines are already becoming available, and it is recommended annually for everyone 6 months and older without an increased risk for a serious adverse reaction. Contact your health care provider, or find a location near you using VaccineFinder.

DHSS will launch a multimedia public awareness campaign starting Oct. 1 that focuses on the people–friends, family, front-line workers–who are protected when one person gets vaccinated.

For more information, visit


Attached Photo: Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director, received his flu vaccination this morning, September 25, at the Cole County Health Department. 


About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo

DHSS adjusts statewide COVID-19 hotline hours

DHSS adjusts statewide COVID-19 hotline hours
Hotline sees decline in overnight call volume

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On March 11, four days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) quickly activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or health care providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. Since that time, more than 112,000 calls have been taken regarding testing, symptoms, regulations and more. 

The 24/7 hotline will shift to a new schedule beginning Oct. 1. Calls will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Current data shows that 93% of calls are received during this timeframe. 

“In March, there was more uncertainty about COVID-19 and its impacts than there is today,” said Williams. “We learn more each week and have been intentional about getting information out to the public through our website, social media and the traditional news media. Additionally, Gov. Parson and various Cabinet members have held more than 75 livestreamed press briefings to answer questions and keep the public informed about the latest information on COVID-19 in Missouri. It remains important that people get the information they need to be safe and protect the health of their communities.” 

The hotline’s call volume peaked in late March with more than 15,000 calls in one week. Currently, approximately 3,000 calls are handled in a week. The schedule is being adjusted to allow the State to use resources most efficiently.

“Consistent with our whole government approach, many of our team members who have been staffing the call center have stepped up and outside their normal role to help fill this need for our state,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of DHSS. “Providing Missourians with the information they need has been crucial. I’m grateful for their willingness to adapt their work lives and even personal schedules in order to ensure we do that.” 

The COVID-19 hotline can be reached at 877-435-8411, and translation services are available. Additionally, DHSS’s virtual assistant, the COVID-19 Chatbot, is always available at


About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo

Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19

With flu season right around the corner it is important to know the differences between flu and COVID-19. While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. Also, COVID-19 has been observed to have more superspreading events than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Learn more from CDC website >>>

Pike Health Department Reports Third COVID-19 Related Death

Pike Health Department Reports Third COVID-19 Related Death

August 31, 2020

Pike County, MO – The Pike Health Department was notified of the third death of a Pike County resident related to COVID-19. The resident was an elderly male in the 70-79 age range.  He tested positive for COVID-19 on August 25, 2020.

“We were saddened to hear the news and extend our sympathy,” says Administrator Rhonda Stumbaugh.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time”.

Stumbaugh stressed the importance to continue following guidelines from the Missouri Department of Health as well as the Pike County Health Department.  It is a crucial time, she said, “that we all work together and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 to prevent any more precious lives taken as a result of this virus”.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. If you think, you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough, shortness or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice before showing up.

For more information, visit the DHSS website at or the CDC website at A statewide COVID-19 hotline also operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-435-8411. You may also visit our website for COVID-19 updates at

PCHD reminds community to stay cautious of COVID-19 Virus

August 10, 2020

Pike County, MO – As your local Public Health Department throughout this pandemic we are working considerably hard to address safety concerns and inform the community on how they can help slow the spread of COVID-19 within Pike County.

With our recent rise in positive cases, we feel it necessary to remind everyone that we are still under the Governor’s Executive order which includes social distancing and taking precautions when social distancing cannot be maintained.

As event season is upon us and like all actions during this pandemic, there are significant consequences to the decisions to host/attend mass gatherings, and we are not immune to those effects. While there are no national or State mandates in place that do not allow large events, we as a local health department will not support/recommend such events take place.

Returning to normal is our ultimate goal for not only the physical health of everyone but for our own mental health as well. We encourage our residents to find safe ways to get the fresh air and socialization we all crave during these crazy times while remaining cautious about this active virus within our community. We urge everyone to continue taking preventative measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 within our county.

This is a recommendation and not a mandate and will remain as such unless there are substantial local changes related to the pandemic or further guidance from state or national levels warrants the enactment of an official mandate. It is the hope that everyone will take precautions and decisions are made in the best interest of our citizens as well as realizing the work load that has been put on our Health Care Providers, Hospital, and Local Health Department.  Pike County Health Department will continue to follow CDC data and recommendations while monitoring any changes in the spread of this virus within our county.

Follow case counts and resources on our website at


Missouri pediatricians and state health department encourage parents to seek preventative care

July 27, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a decline in the vaccination rates among children across Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is partnering with the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MOAAP) to encourage parents to take their children for well-child visits and recommended vaccinations. Well-child visits play a vital role in ensuring children are healthy and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Well-child visits monitor a child’s growth and development, as well as provide important immunizations,” said Kristin Sohl, MD, FAAP, President, MOAAP. “Routine visits with your child’s pediatrician or primary care provider are essential to keeping your child healthy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Missouri’s vaccination rates during the COVID-19 pandemic

Missouri has seen a decrease in the number of vaccines given among children since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, there was more than a 50% decrease in the number of vaccines given to children 18 years of age or younger as compared to April 2019. Slight increases in vaccines given were then seen in May and June, but compared to the same timeframe in 2019, the decreases were still more than 35% and 30% for the respective months.

DHSS is partnering with the MOAAP, Federally Qualified Health Centers, local public health agencies, and other community partners to help provide vaccines to Missourians in safe and innovative ways to avoid an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease and ensure children are able to enter school as they reopen.

“One of the many things we have been working on is outlining ways that we can help protect students, teachers and their families during this time,” said Randall Williams, MD, FACOG, DHSS Director. “Getting caught up on well-child visits and vaccinations is a proactive measure that we encourage families to take. Many childhood illnesses can be prevented by vaccines, and protecting our immune systems is especially important this school year.”

What are health care providers doing to ensure well-child visits are safe?

Guidance has been given to health care providers on what they can do to ensure safety during the well-child visits. Based on the guidance received from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), providers have implemented procedures and have added precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of Missouri families. For example, offices are bringing patients directly from their cars to a room, utilizing separate entrances, completely separating office space between sick and well-child visits, or holding well-child visits first and then sick visits later in the afternoon with additional cleaning procedures in between visits. These extra steps are being taken to prioritize patient safety and health. Clinics are adapting their office visit procedures in real-time based on the most updated guidance.

Health care providers should determine which children have missed well-child visits and the recommended vaccines and prioritize rescheduling them, starting with newborns.

What can you do to protect yourself and your child/children during well-child visits?

Below are steps people can take to reduce the risk of getting a viral respiratory infection, including COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces).
  • Wear a face covering (those over the age of 2).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

Based on guidance from CDC, there has been a decrease in the number of vaccines ordered and administered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC has seen a decline in the number of vaccines ordered and administered through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, a national program that provides federally-purchased vaccine to roughly 50% of U.S. children that are 18 years of age or younger who meet the following criteria:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured (vaccinated at local public health agencies only)
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native

To learn more about COVID-19 and well-child checkups, visit


About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo



Read more MO DHSS Recent News >>>