COVID numbers continue to spike following Great Circle outbreak

    The number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise after a recent outbreak in St. James. More than 40 cases in Phelps, Maries, Dent, Franklin, and Pulaski counties have been epidemiologically linked to Great Circle.


    The Phelps-Maries County Health Department said there have been 32 cases in Phelps, three in Maries, three in Dent, one in Franklin, and three Pulaski County spreading from the Great Circle outbreak. Great Circle has been working with the health department, the Department of health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the Department of Mental Health through this process and prompt action was taken to quarantine and isolate those affected to contain the spread on campus and contact tracing has been conducted to identify those affected. The department has been working to identify all those who were linked to the outbreak and will continue to update the public as more information is available.
    The health department will no longer be issuing press releases on each confirmed positive case, but will instead give updates on Facebook with information pertaining to positive cases on Mondays and Thursdays. To check current information, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) COVID dashboard is updated daily at 2 p.m. The link to that website is: http://mophep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html…
    According to the numbers released on July 6, there are nine active cases in Phelps County and 48 confirmed cases. Of those, 39 have been released from isolation. Maries has one active case and six confirmed cases so far. Five have been released from isolation.
    With each case, the health department works with the DHSS to investigate to identify any individual that may have come in close contact with the positive individual to monitor them for symptoms and assist in the containment of the virus. Any close contacts identified by a positive case within the county will be contacted privately by the health department.
    Primary symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell.
    The health department asks that anyone who develops symptoms contact their physician and seek testing and to isolate themselves until testing results are known.
    For general information and questions regarding the Coronavirus, contact the Missouri DHSS hotline at 877-435-8411. The Phelps-Maries County Health Department can be reached by calling 573-458-6010. The department requests residents not contact them via Facebook as there are too many comment made and someone could be missed.
    The health department urges the public to take appropriate precautions, including social distancing, limiting in-person interactions, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, proper handwashing, cleaning frequently used surfaces, and staying home when sick, to help contain he spread of COVID-19. The area has seen a spike in the number of cases and the department encourages the public to stay isolated as much as possible to reduce the risk of exposure.

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