The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued a press release on September 4 reporting that Labor Day would mark six months since state officials were notified of Missouri’s first positive case of COVID-19. To date, more than a million Missourians have been tested for the virus with 8.7 percent of those testing positive.
DHSS continues to see a significant downward shift in the age range of individuals newly testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As many college-aged students have returned to school and have resumed gathering in groups, reports of COVID-19 have increased in some college towns. Through August alone, nearly 7,000 Missourians ages 18 to 24 have tested positive.
“We are closely monitoring the impact young adults are having on our overall case growth and increased positivity rate in Missouri, as well as how that may be impacting other age groups,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “We need young people to avoid spreading the virus, which can happen even without having symptoms, to their families, coworkers and friends who might be more vulnerable. Stay six feet apart from those you do not live with, wear a mask and wash your hands well and often.”
In some of Missouri’s college communities, such as Greene County, positivity rates have soared as high as 45 percent just among the 18 to 24 population.
As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the more an individual interacts with people he or she doesn’t live with and the closer and longer each interaction is, the higher the risk is of getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
DHSS also wants to make the public aware that there is a marked increase in positive cases reported on September 4 due to delayed reporting by one laboratory that reflects at least a few hundred cases over a four-month time period. The laboratory did not report any test results to DHSS until just recently. DHSS is currently working to analyze this data in more detail.
Additionally, 17 deaths were added to the COVID-19 DHSS Dashboard on September 4. On a weekly basis, incoming death certificate data is analyzed by DHSS. Based on any COVID-19-related findings, deaths that occurred in previous weeks may be added as COVID-19-related deaths. Deaths added to the dashboard each day are not necessarily indicative of deaths that have occurred in the previous 24 hours.
On September 5, DHSS released a “data note” for the numbers reported. It stated: In addition to death reports received in the past 24 hours, DHSS will be reporting an additional 72 deaths today, most of which occurred June-August. Through continuing efforts to ensure data transparency and quality, DHSS analysts discovered an inconsistency in death certificate diagnosis codes when compared to case information contained in DHSS disease surveillance systems. After thorough analysis and evaluation, these additional COVID-19-associated deaths were identified. We expect to report more (although not as many as today) of these on Sunday (September 6) as we work to complete this evaluation of cases. The case fatality rate in Missouri is still down significantly from more than seven percent in both April and May to less than one percent in August.
For more information on COVID-19 in Missouri, visit health.mo.gov/coronavirus.