coronavirus cell

The Jefferson County Health Department reported 285 new COVID-19 cases today (Nov. 20), bringing the total number of cases in the county to 10,186 since the first ones were reported in March, according to the Health Department.

For the past 21 days, the county has had at least 100 new cases a day, the Health Department reported.

The Health Department also released its agenda for this month's regular scheduled Board of Trustees meeting, which will be 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, at the Hillsboro office. Only 11 people will be able to attend the meeting in-person, which will include board members and Health Department staff, but the meeting will be livestreamed on the department’s YouTube channel.

According to the agenda, the board is expected to vote on a preliminary 2021 budget, the assignment of a custodian of records and a possible change to the COVID-19 warning system the Health Department uses.

Board member Suzy Davis is expected to give a presentation about the benchmarks used to determine the county’s status on its four-color warning system, said Brianne Zwiener, communications specialist for the Health Department.

Color status

The county remains at the red level on the Health Department’s COVID-19 warning system.

Red is the highest level on the four-color system and indicates widespread and uncontrolled transmission of the virus.

Several factors are evaluated when determining the color level, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and White House Pandemic Task Force guidelines. However, the main indicator is the seven-day rolling average. If the county has a rolling average of 25 or more cases per day per 100,000 residents, it is moved to the red level.

From the period from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14, the seven-day rolling average of cases in the county was 95.05 per day per 100,000 people in the county, which has a population of about 225,000.

That is the highest rolling average the county has seen since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in March, according to the Health Department.

Health Department officials stress the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including avoiding crowds, social distancing, wearing face masks in public, good hand washing and staying home if you are sick.

Officials say they are especially worried about the spread of the virus over the upcoming holiday season, when people tend to gather with family and friends. Those kinds of gatherings, the Health Department has warned, can lead to the spread of COVID-19, which is particularly dangerous for older people and those with pre-existing health conditions.

County COVID stats

Of the 10,186 COVID-19 cases in the county, 9,353 are lab confirmed and 833 are probable cases. A case is considered probable when a person has been exposed to a positive case and is exhibiting symptoms, the Health Department reported.

The county currently has 2,940 active cases, the Health Department reported.

In addition, the county has had 96 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic started.

As of midnight Thursday (Nov. 19), 1,348 people were quarantined, which means they had a confirmed exposure to the virus and were in the process of completing a 14-day quarantine period.

A total of 7,126 people had been released from isolation since the start of the pandemic, according to the Health Department.

Of the county’s total coronavirus cases, 834 have been at long-term care facilities, which includes residents and staff members who live in Jefferson County.

Of the total COVID-19 deaths in the county, 55 have been from long-term care facilities.

The county has had at least 23 COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, according to the Health Department.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) defines an outbreak as one or more residents testing positive for the virus or one or more staff members who have worked within a facility in the 14 days before testing positive.

State, U.S. stats

Missouri has had 262,436 positive cases of the coronavirus and 3,537 deaths related to the disease, the DHSS reported today.

The CDC reported the U.S. has had 11,650,817 cases, and a total of 251,715 coronavirus-related deaths, as of today.

Anyone who shows coronavirus symptoms or who has questions should call the Missouri State Hotline at 877-435-8411 or the Mercy Clinical Support Line at 314-251-0500. For more information about COVID-19, visit jeffcohealth.org/coronavirus-covid19.

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