Active cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in Phelps and surrounding counties, with Phelps Health reporting they are also seeing the effects of COVID-19 sweeping across the area.
Phelps Health reported last week it is seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients, with 10 COVID-related deaths so far in January. Both inpatient and ICU beds are at capacity and 83 percent of inpatients report they are unvaccinated.
Active cases have risen dramatically in Phelps County with 542 new cases being reported between January 6 and 12, with 736 total cases having been reported so far in 2022. The health department reported the current county positivity rate is at 29.15 percent.
The number of county residents receiving vaccinations is now at 48.5 percent of the total population having initiated vaccinations and 42 percent having completed the vaccination process.
Maries County is also seeing a spike in active cases, with 56 new cases reported during the same period. Maries County has a positivity rate of 20.61 currently. Vaccinations in Maries County are currently 41.1 percent of the total population having initiated the vaccination process and 36.8 percent having completed the process.
The Department of Health and Senior Services, Phelps-Maries County Health Department, and Phelps Health are encouraging all unvaccinated in the community to get vaccinated or to take personal steps in helping keep the spread of the virus low. 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.
With cases surging, local health agencies are emphasizing basic steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19, such as getting vaccinated, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth while in public spaces, avoiding large gatherings, testing when symptomatic to avoid spreading to others, washing your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, and staying at home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
The Phelps-Maries County Health Department offers 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 who 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 www.MOStopsCovid.com or www.VaccineFinder.com.
Vaccination sites can also be found on the Phelps-Maries Count Health Department Facebook page for a full list of where to get vaccinated locally.