County reports biggest jump yet in new COVID cases

    Crawford County’s positive COVID-19 cases have increased by 145 in the past two weeks, due in part to mass testing and facility-wide testing resulting in new cases being identified in congregate living facilities.

    As of Monday, the total number of COVID-19 for the county was at 365, according to numbers released by the Crawford County Health Department (CCHD). That reflects an increase of 75 cases over the previous week. Of the September 21 total, 116 are active cases, 244 have been released from isolation, five have positive serology (antibody testing), and there have been 5,177 negative results.     
    No new deaths were reported this week, and that total remains at five. Those five deaths occurred following a positive lab test for COVID-19, but CCHD has added this explanation to the death reports: When reporting the aggregate number of deaths, the health department does not know what the cause of death has been or will be determined to be, but each was an active, lab-confirmed case at the time of passing. These cases also can't be reported as active or released from isolation.    
    The increase in total positive cases reported by the CCHD shows another dramatic increase over the previous week’s numbers—and is again the highest to date. Between September 7 and 14, the increase was 70. Between August 31 and September 7 there had only been an increase of 26, a drop from the week between August 24 and 31, when there had been an increase of 52 cases. From August 17 to 24, there was an increase of 31, and from August 10 to 17, the increase was 34.
    The CCHD has reported that the large increases are in part due to mass testing and facility-wide testing. As a result, the health department is now also separating data to better illustrate the distribution of new cases by also reporting the numbers specific to cases within congregate living facilities. For these reports, a congregate living facility is one where persons reside and share common spaces with other residents. These include, but are not limited to, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, jails, prisons, mental health facilities, dormitories, and resident summer camps. It does not include hospitals, apartments, or condominiums.
    Of the numbers reported on Monday, there have been 88 total cases located in a congregate living facility. Eleven have been staff members, and 77 were residents. There are 84 active cases and four have been released from isolation.    
    Mass testing is performed regardless of the presence of symptoms or known positive cases and is a useful tool to reveal asymptomatic positives and to determine a base line of prevalence within a target population. Having accurate knowledge of the prevalence within a population helps to guide future decision making and planning.  
    The CCHD continues to follow and contact trace each positive case reported to them and will continue to monitor these situations as they progress.

    Time frames for reporting often differ slightly between the state and the county level, due to when results are made available and sometimes errors in assigning cases to counties, resulting in different total numbers reported at a particular time. The Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard on Monday, September 14 showed a total of 361 cases for Crawford County on the overview tab. On the county tab, the state page showed a total of 131 new cases over the last 14 days, and a rate of new cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 in population of 546.81. The map showing the seven-day percent increase in cases showed a 17 percent relative percent increase based on a total of 306 cases seven days ago and a reported current total of 358.
    Updates from the health department with current numbers have been posted on the Steelville Star and Cuba Free Press Facebook pages, reporting totals as of Mondays and Thursdays. Information can also be found on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) COVID dashboard, which is updated daily at 2 p.m. That website can be found with an online search for the Missouri COVID dashboard.
    The CCHD has noted, at this point, any public activity should be considered a potential risk, and all precautions need to be taken to protect your own health and the health of those around you. The health department doesn’t report details on each case, but does release information on public exposures, as warranted. In these situations, no specific individual can be pinpointed, and exposure may or may not have occurred. Identifiable close contacts will be contacted privately by the health department, but everyone needs to be alert to the possibility of exposure.
    Those who suspect that they have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are experiencing symptoms, should stay home and isolate from others, especially those at higher risk of severe illness. Call a healthcare provider to let them know before seeking care. It is critical that the provider is aware that a person may have COVID-19 prior to their arrival at a healthcare facility, and that the person follows all instructions for arriving at a healthcare facility.
    These symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. This list does not include all possible symptoms.
    The health department asks that anyone who develops symptoms contact their physician, seek testing and isolate at least until test results are known. Potential contacts may call the CCHD office to be screened to determine if monitoring and quarantine are required.
    CCHD’s office number is 573-775-2555. After hours, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This account is checked on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please do not contact the health department via Facebook.
    As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Crawford County and surrounding areas, the health department urges everyone to take the situation seriously and follow the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of getting any viral respiratory infections. These include:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Social Distance: Avoid close contact with others.
    • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
    • Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public.
    • Stay home when not feeling well, stay home after being tested for COVID-19.    
    CCHD has taken and will continue to take the necessary precautions to keep the community safe and will continue to diligently monitor the COVID-19 situation as it evolves by following the CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of this infection.
    For general information and questions regarding COVID-19, please call 1-877-435-8411.