Active COVID-19 cases dropped slightly last week

    The Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported active COVID-19 cases, which have been hovering around 300 each of the past few weeks, dropped slightly last week. Phelps Health also reported inpatient status is operating at normal operations, although its ICU is still near capacity.

    Phelps Health has seen an average five-day respiratory screening station patient volume of 128 per day, reported on January 8. The two week COVID-19 positivity rate is 27.7 percent at the facility. The total average seven-day inpatient census is 108 and the ICU status remains yellow, or near capacity, while inpatient status changed this week from near capacity to normal operations. The hospital releases updates every Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. on the Phelps Health Facebook page.
    According to the health department, as of Monday there were 283 active cases in Phelps County, with the total positive test up to 3,020 cases to date. Deaths related to the virus continue to rise, with 105 now reported to have died from COVID-19 in Phelps County.
    Maries County currently has 41 active cases of COVID-19, with 612 confirmed total cases in the county. There have been 15 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:
    According to the state dashboard on Monday, numbers included data reported through January 9. 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 January 3 through January 9.
    According to the state dashboard, there have been 2,695 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 102 new cases reported in Phelps County over the seven-day date range. Phelps County is at 6,046 in cases per 100,000 population to date.
    Missouri as a state has a total of 427,117 confirmed cases to date as of January 9. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 17.6 percent using the CDC method and there have been 6,155 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. Over the seven-day date range, there have been 19,397 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.