COVID-19 update

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 1/20/21

On Jan. 14, the health department reported Maries County had 39 active cases of the virus, 664 persons released from isolation, 617 positive PCR tests and 100 antigen tests. A total of 14 deaths were …

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COVID-19 update

Posted

On Jan. 14, the health department reported Maries County had 39 active cases of the virus, 664 persons released from isolation, 617 positive PCR tests and 100 antigen tests. A total of 14 deaths were reported. The department determined that one individual moved out of Maries County prior to diagnosis and death, thus one number was removed from the death count. 

In Phelps County, 274 actives cases were reported, with 3,617 persons released from isolation, 3,082 positive PCR tests and 100 positive antigen tests. The department reported 112 virus deaths in Phelps County.

Demand is higher than supply

Late last week the Phelps-Maries County Health Department said the immediate opening of Phase 1B Tier 1 followed by Phase 1B Tier 2 on Monday, Jan. 18,  was “exciting news.” However, the health department noted COVID-19 vaccine supply remains very limited.

The Phelps-Maries County Health Department does not have vaccine supply at this time. Staff is working to secure vaccine, but the demand is higher than the supply. “Our application is pending with no estimated timeframe for approval and no guarantee to receive vaccine once approved,” the department stated.

The governor’s office reported Tier 2 Phase 1B focuses on protecting those who are at increased risk for severe illness, including those aged 65 and older and any adult with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, heart conditions, a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, or Type 2 Diabetes Millitus. 

Vaccination status

The Environmental Public Health Specialist and Emergency Management Coordinator for the Phelps-Maries County Health Department recently gave a situation update on the COVID-19 coronavirus in this area and presented the latest vaccination information.

Patrick Stites of the health department said the week after Thanksgiving the department noted a sharp decline in the number of daily new cases. Within two weeks that rate plateaued and has remained somewhat constant, going from a maximum of 66 new cases a day down to around 40 cases a day for the last three weeks. However, they are seeing a small uptick both locally and at the statewide level the week of Jan. 8. Stites said this could be an indication of an approaching surge but nothing definitive. Hospital capacity has stabilized and the department is cautiously optimistic that public awareness has expanded enough to cause a significant change in public mitigation behaviors.

About the vaccinations, Stites said Missouri is currently working through the first stage of the vaccination plan, Phase 1A. This phase includes patient care healthcare providers and long term care facilities residents and staff. Walgreens and CVS have national contracts to vaccinate all long-term care facilities in the country. As of Dec. 22 there were 200 approved vaccinating facilities in the state with an additional 700 that were expected to be approved as supplies increased. Stites said he expects by the end of January there will be well over 1,000 sites in the state. He has heard from state authorities Missouri is on schedule to move into phase 1B around the beginning of February.

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