Local COVID cases ticking upward as numbers increase across state

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Concerns continue to be raised about a new variant of COVID-19 as the state’s vaccination rate continues to lag.

On Wednesday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 854 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of the largest one-day totals since February. The increase is driven by an increase in cases in southwestern and northern Missouri, areas seeing the delta variant of COVID-19.

Locally, the number of cases is beginning to rise as vaccination numbers are still below the state average.

On Monday the Scott County Health Department reported 11 new positive cases in the last week with six recoveries, leaving five active cases in the county. According to the state, 34.7% of Scott County residents have initiated vaccination, well below the state numbers where 44.5% of residents have initiated vaccination.

Mississippi County currently has no active cases while 34.6% of residents have initiated vaccination.

In New Madrid County, four active cases are being reported while 24% of residents have initiated vaccination.

Stoddard County has seen the biggest increase in active cases with 33 as of Wednesday afternoon while 27.8% of county residents have initiated vaccination.

According to the Stoddard County Public Health Center, a main reason for the high number of positives are the result of an outbreak in a nursing facility in Advance. A death of a resident with COVID-19 was reported Thursday afternoon and there are currently nine residents and five staff who've tested positive for the virus. The health department said most of these positives have been vaccinated within the last 6 months.

Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 54.2% of Americans have initiated vaccination, and 46.4% are fully vaccinated.

Hospitalizations in Missouri have also risen sharply over the past month, mostly in the southwestern part of the state. State data shows 334 people are hospitalized, including 124 in intensive care. The number of hospitalizations in mid-May was 86.

“The bottom line that people need to know: this virus is still here, and it’s going to be here,” said Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. “It’s just not going to go away.”

Parson said 18-29 year-olds, who are less likely to get seriously ill from the virus, can spread it to others who are at higher risk. He said he especially wants to increase the vaccination rate for 40-50 year-olds and added that the state is focused on a marketing campaign to increase vaccinations. He also added he is wary about offering an incentive for people to get the vaccine, saying he considers it a “personal responsibility.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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