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Covid Cases Up, No Deaths Reported

by Megan Davis | January 13, 2022 at 8:31 a.m.

MCDONALD COUNTY -- The McDonald County Health Department again reported no covid-related deaths, but the number of newly identified cases has more than quadrupled following the holidays.

At the time of publication, 229 new cases were identified last week, bringing the total count to 4,559 positive cases. Data indicates that 30% of McDonald County residents have been fully vaccinated and, currently, there are two individuals hospitalized.

According to the health department, as of Dec. 30, 64% of active cases were in individuals older than 40. This reflects a 5% increase since Dec. 23.

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, local public health agencies across the state of Missouri received a letter from the Missouri Attorney General regarding a Nov. 22 court ruling (Robinson v. Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Service, 20AC-CC00515).

In this ruling, a Cole County circuit court judge removed the authority given to the state and local public health agencies for quarantine under 19 CSR 20-20.020 and 19 CSR 20-20.030.

The Missouri Attorney General is upholding this local court ruling and has informed local public health agencies that they "should stop enforcing and publicizing any such orders immediately."

With that information, The McDonald County Health Department has ceased all covid-19 orders at this time. This includes isolation and quarantine orders.

"While this is a huge concern for our agency, we have no other option but to follow the orders of the Missouri Attorney General at this time," the Health Department said in a press release. "We are awaiting additional direction from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services but have no timeline or expectations that this ruling will be changed."

The Health Department went on to provide quarantine information resources to residents who have been or will be diagnosed with covid-19.

"While our agency remains determined to protect the health of our county residents, it should be understood that this ruling greatly affects how we will be able to proceed and stop the spread of covid-19. We encourage vaccinations as the best tool to protect yourself and your community," the release stated.

Vaccinations are available at the Health Department to those 12 and older from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Fridays. Walk-ins are welcome. Children under the age of 18 will need to have a guardian onsite.

Those who are homebound or require assistance and would like to be vaccinated may contact the health department at 417-223-4351, ext. 0.

Contact Tracing

Health Department personnel will continue to focus on contact tracing and distributing covid vaccinations in phases.

McDonald County Health Department officials continue to encourage those who can get vaccinated to do so, noting that the vaccine is free and available to everyone, 12 and older.

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.

Print Headline: Covid Cases Up, No Deaths Reported

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