Phelps County has seen a continuous spike in active COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, according to the Phelps-Maries County Health Department. Active cases were reported at 206 on Monday, up from just 12 in early June.
“We are seeing a significant increase in the reported cases of COVID-19 in our area. There were 68 new cases reported today (July 12), with the average being 33.8 years old,” the health department said. “Of the ones we are able to contact during the case investigation, the overwhelming majority continue to report being unvaccinated.”
The department noted earlier this month, the numbers of reported cases are also expected to be on the conservative side, with many at home testing not being reported as required. With warmer weather and summer activities, more people are travelling along I-44, many unvaccinated, and the trend is moving to rising positive cases of COVID-19.
Phelps Health reported last week, it has also seen increases in active cases, with in-patient status at near capacity. There were eight COVID-19 patients reported in the ICU as of Wednesday, July 8, three of whom required ventilator support. The hospital also reported ICU status as at capacity.
Many of the new cases are associated with workplaces, long-term facilities, church gatherings, and family gatherings, the health department reported earlier this month.
Both the Alpha and Delta variants have been found in Phelps County. The department reported difficulties in getting variants identified as the turnaround time is two to three weeks.
Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and meet the following criteria are encouraged to seek PCR testing instead of rapid testing:
• Fully vaccinated against COVID-19
• Have had a prior confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
• Have travelled internationally
• Have been in direct contact with anyone that has travelled internationally.
Free PCR testing is available for individuals three and older with no insurance at Walgreens and CVS. PCR results typically only take a day or two and those who are getting tested are asked to isolate at home while awaiting test results.
Business owners who have several employees interested in getting a vaccine, the health department may be able to come to the business to save time and resources.
The health department urges those not vaccinated to get the vaccine, wear a mask around others if not fully vaccinated, wash your hands often, avoid large gatherings and stay home if you are sick. Vaccination sites can be found on the Phelps-Maries Count Health Department Facebook page for a full list of where to get vaccinated.