County cases of COVID-19 continue to rise

    Phelps County continues to see a rise in cases of COVID-19, as the Phelps/Maries Health Department reported that active cases are increasing in the area. There was no report released on Monday, due to the Columbus Day holiday, but as of Thursday, October 8, cases were continuing to spike.


    According to the health department, on Thursday there were 152 active cases in Phelps County, an increase from the 124 reported on Monday, October 5, and the county has 672 confirmed total cases, up from 605 over the same time.
    Of the confirmed area cases, 552 have been released from isolation and 20 from the hospital. There are currently six cases requiring hospitalization. There have also been 10,800 negative tests so far in Phelps County.
    Maries County currently has 25 active cases of COVID-19, with 123 confirmed total cases in the county, up from 109 over the three-day period. There have been 100 released from isolation of those confirmed and five have been released from the hospital. There is also one case in Maries County requiring hospitalization. There have been 1,247 negative tests in Maries County.
    The health department encourages the community to take necessary precautions and follow safety guidelines when out in public to help stop the spread of the virus. The area has continued to see rising numbers over the past several weeks and the public should take preventative measures to ensure they are staying safe. Of the 16 county-wide deaths related to COVID-19, 14 of those have come from the St. James and Rosati areas of the county.
    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: showmestrong.mo.gov.
    According to the state dashboard, which hasn’t been updated since October 7, there have been 589 confirmed positive cases in Phelps County. The discrepancy could be associated with cases not yet reported to the state, false positives which have been changed, changes to the new dashboard, or errors in reporting. According to the dashboard, there has been 85 new cases reported in Phelps County over the past 7 days. Phelps County is at 1,321 in cases per 100,000 population to date.
    Missouri as a state has a total of 144,230 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 14 percent and there have been 2,200 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. The statewide numbers continue to rise, with 9,390 new cases identified over the past 7 days.
    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 reported there are a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe illness, with some not experiencing any symptoms at all during their illness.
    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.