After isolated outbreak, University City steps up effort to prevent COVID-19 transmission


UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – University City leaders say they are pleased to report no new COVID-19 outbreaks. However, that doesn’t mean they are letting down their guard.

Earlier this summer, 13 city employees tested positive for COVID-19 in a 10-day period.

It is unclear what accounted for the jump in cases but the timing is of note. City Manager Gregory Rose said the workers got COVID shortly after the stay-at-home orders were lifted.

“Once things opened up, then we weren’t operating within a bubble. So, then employees were able to go to restaurants, go to bars, and so forth; and so that that’s when we first experienced that initial outbreak,” he said.

Up until that outbreak, there were no cases of city employees with COVID-19, Rose said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, University City has taken steps to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Face masks, social distancing, and thorough cleanings of buildings and department vehicles became the norm.

University City is now adopting even more aggressive measures to fight COVID-19 and keep staff and residents safe.

Employees are now required to wear masks when in the presence of a citizen or other employees. It is also conducting more extensive cleaning of buildings. Rose also said that air filters are being replaced on a more frequent basis.

Rose said he thinks the enhanced efforts will make a difference.

“Our approach here is simply that we will need to manage through COVID-19, with the reality that it is unlikely that you can get it to zero,” he said. “But you can take actions that will significantly – I call it, ‘smother the disease. And that is, by wearing masks, it cuts down on those transmissions of those droplets. Also sanitizing, social distancing. All those things combined, we’ve recognized has a huge impact – especially within a building.

Since the outbreak, only three additional employees have missed work due to a COVID-19 related illness.

University City has provided two kinds of masks to its 300 or so employees – both N95 and reusable cloth masks.

It is also making masks available to residents, free of charge, at the University City Public Library on Delmar Boulevard. The masks were provided by a donor, Rose said.

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