COVID-19 cases rose throughout November

    Active COVID-19 cases rose dramatically in November, from 70 on October 29 to 185 announced Monday by the Phelps-Maries County Health Department. The month showed consistent increases even as vaccinations became available to younger children.

    The rebound in active cases came after a consistent decline after a summer spike, which hit a high 374 on July 29 before dropping below 100 cases. The health department reported there have been 6,229 positive PCR tests and 1,491 antigen tests performed by the health department and 7,342 have been released from isolation. There have been 193 deaths attributed to COVID-19 reported.
    The number of county residents receiving vaccinations is now at 45.9 percent of the total population having initiated vaccinations and 40.2 percent having completed the vaccination process.
    Maries County has also seen a slight spike in active cases, hitting a high of 42 reported on November 18. Active cases now sit at 23. There have been 1,080 positive PCR tests and 201 positive antigen tests, with 23 deaths related to COVID-19 being reported. Vaccinations in Maries County are currently 39.1 percent of the total population having initiated the vaccination process and 35.4 percent having completed the process.
    Vaccinations are encouraged for all who can get one and is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are very affective, even against the new variants. There is no cost for a COVID-19 vaccine, even for those uninsured. Fully vaccinated individuals are less likely to miss work, school, or social functions due to illness and fully vaccinated individuals are not asked to quarantine whenever exposed to COVID-19 and not symptomatic.
    The Phelps-Maries County Health Department began providing vaccines of Pfizer for those 12 years and older, Pfizer to those ages five through 11, and Johnson and Johnson for those 18 and older. Parents or legal guardians must be present and sign a consent form for anyone under 18 years old.
    Anyone with symptoms is strongly encouraged to self-quarantine and get a rapid test. Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and meet the following criteria are encouraged to seek PCR testing instead of rapid testing:
    • Fully vaccinated against COVID-19
    • Have had a prior confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
    • Have travelled internationally
    • Have been in direct contact with anyone that has travelled internationally.
    Free PCR testing is available for individuals three and older with no insurance at Walgreens and CVS. PCR results typically only take a day or two and those who are getting tested are asked to isolate at home while awaiting test results.
    Business owners who have several employees interested in getting a vaccine, the health department may be able to come to the business to save time and resources. COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the area and can be found at or
    The health department urges those not vaccinated to get the vaccine, wear a mask around others if not fully vaccinated, wash your hands often, avoid large gatherings and stay home if you are sick. Vaccination sites can also be found on the Phelps-Maries County Health Department Facebook page for a full list of where to get vaccinated locally.