Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks packed, prompting coronavirus travel advisory

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The St. Louis county executive has issued a coronavirus travel advisory in response to viral images of crowds crammed into pools at the Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial Day weekend, according to reports.

“This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” County Executive Sam Page said Monday. “I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace.”

The advisory urges those who went to Lake of the Ozarks and flouted state coronavirus social distancing measures to self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result for COVID-19.

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Lake of the Ozarks is a popular getaway for people who live in St. Louis. The spot also attracts visitors from nearby states.

Revelers celebrate Memorial Day weekend at Osage Beach of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, U.S., May 23, 2020 in this screen grab taken from social media video and obtained by Reuters on May 24. (Twitter/Lawler50/via REUTERS) 

Revelers celebrate Memorial Day weekend at Osage Beach of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, U.S., May 23, 2020 in this screen grab taken from social media video and obtained by Reuters on May 24. (Twitter/Lawler50/via REUTERS) 

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson allowed businesses and attractions to reopen earlier this month, Fox 2 St. Louis reported. An order requiring people out in public to comply with social distancing and stay 6 feet apart from one another remained in effect.

Page’s advisory also asks business owners to screen workers and ask them if they went to the Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, the station reported.

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Capt. Chris Twitchell with the Camden County Sheriff's Department said deputies were struggling to keep up with an increase of reported crime because of the surge of people. He said there's no way the department has enough deputies to enforce social distancing on top of that.

“We’ve had such an influx of people down here at the lake, we’re just overwhelmed,” he said.

Since the pandemic first hit Missouri, the state health department has reported 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Camden County and four in Miller County, which cover some of the Lake of the Ozarks area.

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In total, the health department reported that the virus has sickened at least 11,988 people, up 236 cases compared to what was reported Saturday. The confirmed death toll is 681, up from 676 reported deaths Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.