Twenty-one people living in nursing home facilities have died from COVID-19, according to Monday’s updated provided by the Phelps/Maries County Health Department.
The department noted there have been positive cases reported in the Maries Manor, Missouri Veterans Home in St. James, St. James Assisted Living Center, Presbyterian Manor, and the Ferndale Residential Care Facility. The Veterans Home has had 20 deaths, St. James Living Center one, and Maries Manor one.
Maries County had its first death related to COVID-19 last week, but that went up to three by Monday. Area positive cases continue to spike in both Phelps and Maries counties, and the department is again reporting issues with individuals who are declining to work with the department as it works to contact trace.
“Unfortunately, we are again encountering a significant number of individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19 who are declining to provide us with potential sources of exposure and/or identify any potential direct contact. While this is the individual’s right to do so, this negatively impacts our ability to effectively contact trace and notify individuals of their exposure to COVID-19,” the department said.
“This means there are individuals who are still attending work, school, public and private events, that have been exposed to COVID-19, may or may not be aware of their exposure, and are potentially further spreading COVID-19 amongst the community. Unfortunately, this increases the chance that COVID-19 will unknowingly enter our schools, long-term care facilities, and places of business. When we call you after your positive result, we ask that you are honest and thorough so that we can confidentially notify the contacts of their exposure to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” the department explained.
The department added that if a person is tested for COVID-19, they must quarantine and isolate until their test results are returned and not to return to school or work. “Unfortunately, we have numerous individuals who continue to go to work or attend school after being tested only to be called later with a positive test result. This unnecessarily exposes others to COVID-19,” the department said.
According to the health department, on Monday there were 237 active cases in Phelps County, up from the 142 reported on October 26. Total positive cases continue to increase county-wide, now up to 1,024.
Of the confirmed area cases, 875 have been released from isolation and 49 from the hospital. There are currently nine cases requiring hospitalization. There have also been 15,933 negative tests so far. Deaths associated with COVID-19 have risen to 29 in Phelps County.
Maries County currently has 51 active cases of COVID-19, with 260 confirmed total cases. There have been 226 released from isolation of those confirmed and seven have been released from the hospital. There are also three cases in Maries County requiring hospitalization. There have been 1,764 negative tests in Maries 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, there have been 953 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 113 new cases reported in Phelps County over the past seven days. Phelps County is at 2,138 in cases per 100,000 population to date.
Missouri as a state has a total of 190,424 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 28.5 percent and there have been 3,064 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. Over the past seven days, there have been 16,111 new confirmed cases.
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.