COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Crawford County, but the increase over the past week has slowed compared to that of the previous two weeks.
As of Monday, the total number of COVID-19 cases for the county was at 404, according to numbers released by the Crawford County Health Department (CCHD). That reflects an increase of 39 cases over the previous week, a significant drop from the previous two weeks. Of the September 28 total, 70 are active cases, 329 have been released from isolation, five have positive serology (antibody testing), and there have been 5,725 negative results.
No new deaths were reported this week. That total remains at five and has since the September 14 report. Those five deaths occurred following a positive lab test for COVID-19, but CCHD has explained, 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 has slowed following two weeks of the highest to date. Between September 14 and 21, the increase was 75 and from September 7 to 14, the increase was 70. 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.
The CCHD reported that the large increases for the previous weeks were in part due to mass testing and facility-wide testing. As a result, the health department is now also separating data to better illustrate the distribution of new cases by also reporting the numbers specific to cases within congregate living facilities. For these reports, a congregate living facility is one where persons reside and share common spaces with other residents. These include, but are not limited to, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, jails, prisons, mental health facilities, dormitories, and resident summer camps. It does not include hospitals, apartments, or condominiums.
Of the numbers reported on Monday, there have been 99 total cases located in a congregate living facility. Fifteen have been staff members, and 84 were residents. There are 35 active cases and 64 have been released from isolation.
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 CCHD continues to follow and contact trace each positive case reported to them and will continue to monitor these situations as they progress.
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 has also just undergone a transformation (see related story, this issue). On Monday, September 28 that website showed a total of 393 cases for Crawford County on the “statewide” tab. The new state dashboard can be found online at https://showmestrong.mo.gov/data/public-health/.
Monday’s statewide data included cases and testing information from September 19-25. During that time period, the state reported 48 new cases in Crawford County with 466 tests conducted. That gave the county a positivity rate of 18.6 percent, which was an increase of 1.4 percent from the previous week. Anything above 10.0 percent is considered high and indicates a need for more testing.
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. More information can also be found on the state website.
The CCHD has noted, 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. 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.