Active cases remain steady as COVID-19 vaccine comes to the area

    The Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported Monday that active cases remained steady over the past week. The focus is shifting to vaccinating frontline workers as the COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in the area.


    “Vaccine supply is very limited. At this time, the State of Missouri remains in Phase 1A. When more doses become available, the remainder of group 1A will be completed and then they will move into Phase 1B. Our major healthcare systems have begun vaccinating health care workers (patient-facing),” the department said. “Long-term care facilities (residents and staff) are being vaccinated as well through federal contracts with CVS/Walgreens Pharmacies.”
    The department noted it does not currently have any vaccines, as those are being rolled out first to hospitals and frontline workers.
    According to the health department, as of Monday there were 302 active cases in Phelps County, with the total positive tests up to 2,864 cases. Deaths related to the virus in the county stood at 99.
    Maries County currently has 43 active cases of COVID-19, with 590 confirmed total cases. There have been 13 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Maries County.
    To check current information, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) COVID dashboard is updated daily. The link to that website is: https://showmestrong.mo.gov/public-health/
    According to the state dashboard on Monday, numbers included data reported through January 2. All seven-day metrics are based on the date a test or death occurred and are subject to a three-day delay to ensure data are accurate and complete. As a result, Monday’s numbers were for the date range of December 27 through January 2.
    According to the state dashboard, there have been 2,589 confirmed positive cases to date 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 have been 159 new cases reported in Phelps County over the seven-day range. Phelps County is at 5,473 cases per 100,000 population to date.
    Missouri as a state has a total of 405,589 confirmed cases as of January 2. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 19.4 percent using the CDC method and there have been 5,825 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. Over the seven-day date range, there were 17,319 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 that residents not contact them via Facebook as there are too many comments 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 the spread of COVID-19.