The McDonald County Health Department reported another covid-induced death on Monday, bringing the total to 33. The county also reported 7 new cases this week -- the lowest increase to date.
An additional 300 vaccines were administered in McDonald County last week, bringing the total vaccination count to 4,696 doses.
As of publication, the total number of positive cases is 2,552. A total of 2,495 individuals have been released from isolation, leaving 57 still isolated.
On Tuesday, March 30, McDonald County School District announced that four students are currently testing positive for covid-19, with 36 students and one staff member excluded from school and 10 students quarantined within school as a result.
No data was released regarding the school(s) of the quarantined students or staff.
Officials with the McDonald County Health Department remind the public that federal funding for testing through the CARES Act ended on Dec. 31. The health department is no longer able to continue free testing for the uninsured. All area clinics will continue to provide testing at a cost.
Health Department personnel will continue to focus on contact tracing and distributing covid vaccinations in phases.
McDonald County Health Department officials continue to encourage the public to wear masks and social distance.
Updates on the vaccine and plans for distribution will continue to be shared online.
The first phase, 1A, placed a priority on vaccinating long-term care facility residents and staff as well as patient-facing healthcare workers.
Phase 1B focused on vaccinating high-risk individuals 18 to 64 years old, and individuals older than 65 years, as well as first responders and essential workers.
Phase 1B, Tier 3, focused on those who work in fields that keep essential functions operating -- such as education and childcare, energy, agriculture and transportation, among others.
Phase 2 was activated on Monday, March 29, and places priority on populations at increased risk, such as prisoners and the homeless, as well as individuals in employed in fields accelerating economic recovery.
Phase 3 is scheduled to be activated on Friday, April 9, and will allow all Missouri residents access to the vaccine.
Phase 2 includes those who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic or those who work in fields that accelerate economic recovery, as follows:
• Chemical Sector: Employees engaged in the manufacture, store, use, and transport of potentially dangerous chemicals and other diverse products in the chemical sector that are essential to modern life and economic activity.
• Construction Sector: Employees or contractors engaged in the construction or repair of buildings, infrastructure or industrial facilities.
• Commercial Facilities Sector: Employees engaged in activities related to the eight subsectors within the commercial facilities sector.
• Critical Manufacturing Sector: Employees in critical manufacturing engaged in the production of certain goods.
• Defense Industrial Base Sector: Employees that contribute to products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations and national defense
• Financial Services Sector: Employees within the financial services sector.
• Food/Agriculture Sector remaining: Remaining populations within the sector not included in 1B, including restaurants.
• Government: Other state and local government designated personnel required to provide essential services.
• Higher Education: Faculty and staff at public, private, and/or nonprofit higher education institutions.
• Disproportionately Affected Populations: Populations at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting covid-19, with emphasis on racial/ethnic minorities not otherwise included in 1B.
• Homeless: Populations at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting covid-19, excluding those that were already included in 1B.
• Libraries: Staff at public, private, and/or nonprofit libraries.
The 1A and 1B populations will continue to receive vaccinations as the next phase progresses.
Vaccination clinics are being scheduled for those that qualify.
You must be preregistered on the health department's list in order to receive an appointment for vaccination. To pre-register, call 417-223-4351 between 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday, and follow the prompts. Your name will be added to the list and you will receive a call with more details the day before your scheduled clinic.
Health department officials remind the public that two doses of the vaccine are required and should be administered 28 days apart.
It is important that patients return for the second dose to develop the highest level of protection from SARS-CoV-2. Patients who do not receive the second vaccination at 28 days should still receive the second dose as soon as possible thereafter.
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:
• Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
• Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe covid-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
• Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic;
For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
• Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
• Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe covid-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe covid-19 disease;
• Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households;
• Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
• Get tested if experiencing covid-19 symptoms;
• Follow guidance issued by individual employers;
• Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.