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The McDonald County Health Department has reported 27 new covid-19 infections in the past week, a number that represents a decline in new infections from previous weeks.

The total number of deaths is up to seven, which is an increase from last week.

The total number of infections is 974, and the number released from isolation as of Tuesday is 860. There are six people hospitalized with covid-19.

Paige Behm of the health department said, "There has been a decline in cases and we are hopeful that this will continue. There are many factors that have contributed to a decrease such as; the public is more aware of the importance of face coverings, people realize that covid is a serious illness in our community and the community partnerships that have been working hard to reduce cases. All clinics in McDonald County have been testing for months for those with and without symptoms allowing public health to contact trace the illness and try to prevent further spread.

"While the deaths have increased in McDonald County, this often occurs after a large surge in cases like we saw in late June. The goal is to prevent hospitalizations and deaths. We truly wish we had no deaths but this virus is difficult to contain. We want the public to understand that the best prevention is masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene. If we all take those precautions we can keep our cases down and protect our most vulnerable populations."

Testing is available at Ozarks Community Hospital clinics, Freeman Health System and Access Family Care in Anderson, and at the McDonald County Health Department. Each facility has different times and days for availability, so those wishing to be tested are asked to call ahead and schedule an appointment.

• Pineville Ozarks Community Hospital: 417-223-4290, by appointment.

• Noel Ozarks Community Hospital: 417-475-6151, by appointment.

• McDonald County Health Department: 417-223-4351, by appointment, for the uninsured.

• Access Family Care: 417-845-8300, every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m., by appointment.

• Freeman Clinic of Anderson: 417-845-0545, must be symptomatic, by appointment.

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