• Spike in numbers partly due to outbreak at jail
Seventy new cases were added to the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Crawford County over the past week, in large part due to facility-wide testing conducted at the Crawford County Jail and sheriff’s offices. As of Monday, the total for the county is at 290, according to numbers released by the Crawford County Health Department (CCHD).
The health department issued the following statement with the latest numbers: “After a few days of downward trajectory in new reported cases last week, Crawford County experienced a significant spike over the weekend. Twenty-one cases came in over Friday and Saturday, the rest came in on Sunday and Monday. This information (was) current as of 5 p.m. on Monday, September 14.
“More than half of these cases were the result of mass testing events or routine facility-wide testing. We are investigating a surge of cases within the Crawford County Jail and working closely with jail and sheriff’s department personnel to monitor and contain the situation. Mass testing is performed regardless of the presence of symptoms or known positive cases and is a useful tool to reveal asymptomatic positives and to determine a base line of prevalence within a target population. Having accurate knowledge of the prevalence within a population helps to guide future decision making and planning. The Crawford County Health Department continues to follow and contact trace each positive case reported to us. We will continue to monitor these situations as they progress.”
Sheriff Darin Layman noted, “We house inmates that come from all over the state and country. That, coupled with knowing that a jail is, in and of itself, a high-risk environment for viral transmission, made us want to do inmate and office-wide testing to have an accurate base line of prevalence within our facility to guide our decisions and planning moving forward. We are working with state and local agencies to mitigate any further exposure to our staff and inmates. This office will continue to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of each and every individual within it.” The sheriff added that nearly all of the positive test results were for inmates, not personnel.
On Monday, September 14, the health department reported the new total of 290 cases, showing an increase of 70 over its total of 220 a week ago. Of the September 14 total, 74 are active cases, 211 have been released from isolation, five have positive serology (antibody testing), and there have been 4,576 negative results.
One new death was also reported this week, bringing that total to five. Those five deaths occurred following a positive lab test for COVID-19, but CCHD has added this explanation to the death reports: When reporting the aggregate number of deaths, the health department does not know what the cause of death has been or will be determined to be, but each was an active, lab-confirmed case at the time of passing. These cases also can't be reported as active or released from isolation.
The increase in total positive cases reported by the CCHD is a dramatic increase over the previous week’s numbers—the highest to date. Between August 31 and September 7 there had only been an increase of 26, a drop from the week between August 24 and 31, when there had been an increase of 52 cases. From August 17 to 24, there was an increase of 31, and from August 10 to 17, the increase was 34.
Time frames for reporting often differ slightly between the state and the county level, due to when results are made available and sometimes errors in assigning cases to counties, resulting in different total numbers reported at a particular time. The Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard on Monday, September 14 showed a total of 280 cases for Crawford County on the overview tab. On the county tab, the state page showed a total of 83 new cases over the last 14 days, and a rate of new cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 in population of 346.45. The map showing the seven-day percent increase in cases showed a 25 percent relative percent increase based on a total of 224 cases seven days ago and a reported current total of 279. This put Crawford County into the top 10 counties in the state for seven-day percent increase.
Updates from the health department with current numbers have been posted on the Steelville Star and Cuba Free Press Facebook pages, reporting totals as of Mondays and Thursdays. Information can also be found on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) COVID dashboard, which is updated daily at 2 p.m. That website can be found with an online search for the Missouri COVID dashboard.
The CCHD has noted, it should be understood, at this point, any public activity should be considered a potential risk, and all precautions need to be taken to protect your own health and the health of those around you. The health department doesn’t report details on each case, but does release information on public exposures, as warranted.
On September 11, the CCHD released a notice of public exposure to COVID-19, reporting: Individuals at the following place of public accommodation on the dates listed are at low risk for contracting COVID-19 but should monitor for symptoms: Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba on September 3 from 4 to 10 p.m., September 4 from 4 to 10 p.m., and September 6 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In these situations, no specific individual can be pinpointed, and exposure may or may not have occurred. Identifiable close contacts will be contacted privately by the health department, but everyone needs to be alert to the possibility of exposure.
Those who suspect that they have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are experiencing symptoms, should stay home and isolate from others, especially those at higher risk of severe illness. Call a healthcare provider to let them know before seeking care. It is critical that the provider is aware that a person may have COVID-19 prior to their arrival at a healthcare facility, and that the person follows all instructions for arriving at a healthcare facility.
These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. This list does not include all possible symptoms.
The health department asks that anyone who develops symptoms contact their physician, seek testing and isolate at least until test results are known.
Potential contacts may call the CCHD office to be screened to determine if monitoring and quarantine are required.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Crawford County and surrounding areas, the health department urges everyone to take the situation seriously and follow the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Social Distance: Avoid close contact with others.
• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
• Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public.
• Stay home when not feeling well, stay home after being tested for COVID-19.
CCHD has taken and will continue to take the necessary precautions to keep the community safe and will continue to diligently monitor the COVID-19 situation as it evolves by following the CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of this infection.
For general information and questions regarding COVID-19, please call 1-877-435-8411.