The McDonald County Health Department reported no new covid-induced deaths this week -- keeping the death toll at 30 for the past four weeks. A total of 17 new cases were reported for the week -- the lowest weekly increase in months.
These numbers reflect a decrease in new cases reported, but this may also be due to fewer free testing sites available to the public.
Health department officials announced that an order has been placed for additional first doses of the vaccine, but these orders have not been fulfilled for the last three weeks. They say there is currently a list of 1,000 individuals in need of the vaccine. So far, 1,280 doses of the vaccine have been administered.
As of publication, the total number of positive cases is 2,416. A total of 2,328 individuals have been released from isolation, leaving 88 still isolated and two individuals currently hospitalized.
On Wednesday, Feb. 3, McDonald County School District announced that four students and two staff members are currently testing positive for covid-19, with 77 students and seven staff members being excluded from 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.
The first phase, 1A, places a priority on vaccinating long-term care facility residents and staff as well as patient-facing healthcare workers.
Phase 1B focuses on vaccinating high-risk individuals 18 to 64 years old, and individuals older than 65 years, as well as first responders and essential workers.
Populations at increased risk, such as prisoners and the homeless, will receive the vaccination in Phase 2, followed by all Missouri residents having access to the vaccine in Phase 3.
McDonald County Health Department officials reiterate that cases are continuing to rise and encourage the public to wear masks and social distance.
Updates on the vaccine and plans for distribution will continue to be shared online.
Due to a limited supply of antibody test kits, the health department is reserving tests for people who meet certain criteria. For more information, call 417-223-4351, ext. 0.
Testing is available at Ozarks Community Hospital clinics, Freeman Health System, 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.
The McDonald County Health Department will operate under updated office hours as vaccination efforts begin in the county. The health department will be open from 8 a.m. until noon, Monday through Friday, for the foreseeable future.
Phase 1B — Tier 1 was activated on Jan. 15 and Phase 1B — Tier 2 was activated on Jan. 18. The 1A population will continue to receive vaccinations as the next phase progresses.
Vaccination clinics are being scheduled for those in Phase 1B, Tier 2. This includes anyone over 65 years of age and adults with the following conditions:
• Chronic Kidney Disease
• Intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome
• Heart Conditions
• Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
• Severe Obesity (BMI>40kg/m2)
• Sickle Cell Disease
• Type II Diabetes.
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 Moderna 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 Moderna vaccination at 28 days should still receive the second dose as soon as possible thereafter.
Governor Mike Parsons announced last week that vaccine supply is still not close to meeting the current demand that exists in Missouri. State allocations are determined based on population and Missouri’s plan prioritizes the vaccination of Missouri residents first.