County COVID vaccine rate is slow

Even with the COVID-19 vaccine available to all, Crawford County residents aren’t rushing to get it. Only 15.8 percent of the population has completed the vaccine regimen, 3,770 of the total of 23,920 residents of the county.


    Each week has showed very slight increases to that number, with just 14.2 percent completely vaccinated last week. The percent of the population that has initiated the vaccine sequence stands at 20.2 percent.
    Statewide, total vaccinations is at a higher percentage, but the number of new vaccines administered has declined each week for the past three. Across Missouri, 28.7 percent of the population has completed the vaccination process for a total of 1,760,994 people.
    There were 182,261 doses of vaccine administered from April 24 to 30 throughout the state. Between April 17 and 23, there had been 215,687 vaccine doses administered, compared to 277,614 for the previous week.
    Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses per person.  
    In Crawford County, new COVID cases reported for the week of April 24 to 30 totaled 11, a slight increase over last week’s total of seven, but still low compared to previous weeks and months. That put the county’s seven-day positivity rate using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) method at 3.7 percent, up slightly from last week’s 2.9 percent, but still well below the 10 percent benchmark that is considered high.
    As of May 2, the state website reported a new total of 2,264 confirmed PCR cases to date in Crawford County. There was a total of 307 probable antigen cases reported.
    The total death count in Crawford County remained the same at 36 for the third week in a row.
    County residents have now had a total of 19,216 PCR tests conducted and 6,597 antigen tests. There were 349 PCR tests conducted in the seven-day period ending on April 30, and 90 antigen tests.
    Statewide, as of April 30, there had been 2,574 new confirmed cases (those with a positive PCR test) in the previous seven days, showing an increase for the second week in a row. Last week, that figure was 2,352, an increase from the 2,055 reported the previous week. The average increased to 368 per day this week from 336 last week. Those with a positive antigen test are reported as “probable” cases and that total was 1,394 for the week, down from 1,464 the previous week. If a person has both a positive PCR and antigen test, they are only counted as a confirmed case. There were 55,162 PCR tests conducted over the week and 32,101 antigen tests.
    The state’s PCR positivity rate increased slightly from 5.0 to 5.1 percent using the CDC method. The antigen positivity rate decreased from 5.3 to 4.9 percent.
    New deaths for the week totaled 10, eight more than the previous week. Hospitalizations increased from 745 to 795 as of April 30. There were 149 patients in the ICU compared to 138 last week, and 97 on ventilators—up from 77 last week at this time.
    The Crawford County Health Department (CCHD) recommends the state-maintained dashboard as the best source of data related to COVID-19. Although the state website’s reported information is somewhat delayed, it provides in-depth information and has a team of experts ensuring the best and most accurate data possible is reported. The website can be found at https://showmestrong.mo.gov/public-health/.
    Health officials continue to caution that any public activity should be considered a potential risk, and all precautions need to be taken to protect your own health and the health of those around you.
    Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. This list does not include all possible symptoms.
    Anyone who suspects that they have COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are experiencing symptoms, should stay home and isolate from others, especially those at higher risk of severe illness. Call a healthcare provider to let them know before seeking care. It is critical that the provider is aware that a person may have COVID-19 prior to their arrival at a healthcare facility, and that the person follows all instructions for arriving at a healthcare facility.
    The health department asks that anyone who develops symptoms contact their physician, seek testing and isolate at least until test results are known. Potential contacts may call the CCHD office to be screened to determine if monitoring and quarantine are required. CCHD’s office number is 573-775-2555. Please do not contact the health department via Facebook.
    Health officials continue to urge people to follow the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of getting any viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. These include:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Social Distance: Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick.
    • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
    • Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public.
    • Stay home when not feeling well; stay home after being tested for COVID-19.    
    CCHD has taken and will continue to take the necessary precautions to keep the community safe and will continue to diligently monitor the COVID-19 situation as it evolves by following the CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of this infection.
    For general information and questions regarding COVID-19, please call 1-877-435-8411.

Local vaccinations available
    Members of the community are encouraged to pre-register for the vaccine through the following locations:
    • BJC HealthCare (includes Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital)—register at www.bjc.org/vaccine. For those without internet or e-mail access, the following phone number can be used as an alternate: 314-273-1252. Due to high demand, wait times on this line can be lengthy so it is recommended to use the website when possible.
    • Franklin County Health Department—register at https://www.franklinmo.org/health
    • Crawford County Health Department—call 573-775-2555 and press 0 to be connected with an employee.
    • Sink’s Pharmacy, which operates Steelville Drug, Towne Pharmacy in Cuba, and numerous other area locations, has begun administering COVID-19 vaccinations in the area. To sign up for future Sink’s Pharmacy vaccination clinics, visit www.sinkspharmacy.com.
    • Walmart in Cuba, Salem, Potosi, and Rolla—to check availability and schedule an appointment visit www.walmart.com/COVIDvaccine.
    Those who pre-register will be contacted when vaccine is available to them.
     All Missourians, age 16 and up, are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on the vaccine, please visit: Missouri Department of Public Health: https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/.