Area COVID-19 cases continue to increase

    The Phelps/Maries Health Department reported area COVID-19 cases continue to spike and urge residents to stay away from large gatherings and if being tested, remain in isolation until they get results. The department said it is seeing people who are possibly infected going to work or gatherings, leading to the rise in area cases.


    “If you have been tested for COVID-19, please continue to strictly quarantine at home until you receive notification of the test results. We are seeing an alarming number of cases return to work and/or attend gatherings after being tested and awaiting results,” the department said in a statement. “Even more unsettling is the number of cases we are seeing that are having symptoms, have been tested, and continue to go to work and/or attend gatherings before receiving positive results. This unnecessarily exposes many others in the workplace and within the community. Thank you for your assistance in this important matter.”
    As of Monday, there are currently 21 active cases in Phelps County, along with 98 confirmed total cases. That number is up from 76 confirmed cases last Monday. Of the confirmed area cases, 77 have been released from isolation and three from the hospital.
    Maries County currently has six cases of positive COVID-19, with 24 confirmed cases in the county, up from 16 last Monday. There have been 18 released from isolation of those confirmed and two were released after hospitalization.
    Due to a positive COVID-19 case, the city of Rolla announced curbside collection of recycling and yard waste has been suspended due to labor shortages caused by positive cases. The city hopes to restore services on August 24.
    To check current information, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) COVID dashboard is updated daily at 2 p.m. The link to that website is:
http://mophep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html…
    With each case, the health department works with the DHSS to investigate to identify any individual that may have come in close contact with the positive individual to monitor them for symptoms and assist in the containment of the virus. Any close contacts identified by a positive case within the county will be contacted privately by the health department.
    Primary symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell. The health department reported there are a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe illness, with some not experiencing any symptoms at all during their illness.
    “The majority of cases have identifiable sources of exposure to COVID-19 (out of state travel, travel to an area with known community spread, participation in high rick activity, large gatherings),” the health department said. In its statement, the department stated there has been a substantial increase in the number of direct contacts related to a confirmed case and continues to encourage anyone who believes they are symptomatic, been in contact with someone who might carry the virus, or who have been in a high-risk area to take extra precautions and self-isolate, as the area is hit with more cases.
    “Several community events are still set to take place in our area and surrounding areas over the next several weeks. We cannot stress enough that even if you are experiencing very mild symptoms (frequently described as allergies, tickle in the throat, feeling the need to cough to clear one’s throat) to stay home, isolate from others, and refrain from attending any public event or place of public accommodation” the department said.
    The health department asks that anyone who develops symptoms contact their physician and seek testing and to isolate themselves until testing results are known.
    For general information and questions regarding the Coronavirus, contact the Missouri DHSS hotline at 877-435-8411. The Phelps-Maries County Health Department can be reached by calling 573-458-6010. The department requests residents not contact them via Facebook as there are too many comment made and someone could be missed.
    The health department urges the public to take appropriate precautions, including social distancing, limiting in-person interactions, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, proper handwashing, cleaning frequently used surfaces, and staying home when sick, to help contain he spread of COVID-19.