The Phelps-Maries County Health Department has seen the summer surge of COVID-19 cases decline in recent weeks. The spike was most prominent in mid-July, but active cases continue to trend downward.
Phelps Health continues to see inpatient and ICU statuses as at capacity over recent weeks, even as cases fall. According to Phelps Health, during the month of August 86 percent of patients hospitalized at the hospital of COVID-19 were unvaccinated.
“Of those who were fully vaccinated and admitted to the hospital, those patients, on average, were older and had two or more diseases or medical conditions that put them at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated patients,” Phelps Health said. “This data supports evidence that the available COVID-19 vaccines are effective against getting severely ill from COVID-19 as well as preventing hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus.”
The Phelps-Maries County Health Department reported active cases rose to 374 on July 29 and is now tracking 176 active cases as of September 1. There have been 5,310 positive PCR tests and 1,276 antigen tests performed by the health department and 6,068 have been released from isolation. There have been 170 deaths in Phelps County attributed to COVID-19.
The number of county residents receiving vaccinations are slowly climbing, with 40.6 percent of the total population having initiated vaccinations and 35.6 percent having completed the vaccination process. The health department is urging residents to get vaccinated as there are many places to do so and, as Phelps Health reported, are very effective in keeping residents out of the hospital.
Maries County is currently at 37 active cases as of September 1. There have been 929 positive PCR tests and 155 positive antigen tests, with 18 deaths related to COVID-19. Vaccinations in Maries County also climbing slowly, with 34.5 percent of the total population having initiated the vaccination process and 30.2 percent having completed the process.
Vaccinations are encouraged for all who can get one and is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Vaccinations are very affective, even against the new variants. There is no cost for a COVID-19 vaccine, even for those uninsured. Fully vaccinated individuals are less likely to miss work, school, or social functions due to illness and fully vaccinated individuals are not asked to quarantine whenever exposed to COVID-19 and not symptomatic.
The more vaccinated the population the greater the chance to reduce the number of people admitted to the hospital, keeps people from being absent from work and causing burdens on local business, and is the best way to reduce the severity of COVID-19.
Anyone with symptoms is strongly encouraged to self-quarantine and get a rapid test. 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. COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the area and can be found at www.MOStopsCovid.com or www.VaccineFinder.com.
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 also be found on the Phelps-Maries Count Health Department Facebook page for a full list of where to get vaccinated locally.