Active COVID-19 cases remain steady while vaccination numbers rise

    The number of active COVID-19 cases remain steady as more residents get vaccinated in Phelps County. While the Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported it has still not received any COVID-19 vaccine, Phelps Health has been administering vaccinations and a second dose vaccination event was held on Friday, aided by the Missouri National Guard.

    Phelps Health reported there have been 9,598 first dose vaccinations given at their facility so far, up from 8,828 the week prior. The hospital also reported the two-week COVID-19 positive rate is now at 7.3 percent and both inpatient and ICU statuses were at normal operation. Area COVID-19 positive cases remained steady over the past week.
    The Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported on Monday, March 1, active COVID-19 cases are now at 42, a slight increase over the 36 reported the week before. Total PCR positive tests are at 3,358 and there have been 129 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Phelps County.
    Maries County currently has six active cases of COVID-19, with 662 confirmed total cases in the county. There have been 14 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 Tuesday, numbers included data reported through February 27. 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 February 21 through February 27.
    According to the state dashboard, there have been 3,022 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 33 new cases reported in Phelps County over the seven-day date range. Phelps County is at 6,780 in cases per 100,000 population to date.
    Missouri as a state has a total of 478,682 confirmed cases to date as of February 27. The seven-day positive percent PCR tests are at 4.6 percent using the CDC method and there have been 7,932 confirmed deaths in the state associated with COVID-19. Over the seven-day date range, there have been 2,425 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 continue 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.