The Jefferson County Health Department reported 35 new COVID-19 cases today (July 9) – the largest number of cases the county has had in a single day.
With today’s 35 cases, the county has had at total of 666 cases since the first ones were reported in March.
Health Department Director Kelley Vollmar said the county had a total of 32 new cases all of last week, so cases are increasing rapidly.
“We have surpassed in one day what we had the entire week last week,” she said.
Vollmar said the rise in cases is not the result of more testing, but is from community spread.
None of the cases today were at long-term care facilities, and Vollmar said she is seeing more cases in younger county residents.
“We are starting to see our under 18 population impacted by the illness,” she said.
With the increase in cases, Vollmar said she expects to eventually see a rise in both COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations.
She also said the new cases have more contacts to trace.
“Anyone within 6 feet (of someone who tests positive) for longer than 15 minutes,” is a contact.
Vollmar said hundreds of phone calls came into the Health Department today after it posted a message on social media stating the agency's board members expect to soon vote on whether to issue a mandatory mask order.
She said her staff listened and read all the messages.
“We had a 50/50 split,” Vollmar said. “I want the community to know that your voices are being heard.”
Vollmar said the vote has been delayed and she expects the board to hold a meeting next week to give the board time to review the messages before voting.
She said today she is not trying to limit people's freedom and does not view public health as a political issue.
“It’s (public health) about preventing things before they happen,” she said.
Vollmar urges people to wear masks.
She said the Health Department was providing community-wide testing, but the demand is so high now, the agency is again prioritizing testing for first responders, health care workers and those who have symptoms of the disease.
“The demand for testing has significantly increased,” she said. “We are receiving over 100 requests a day.”
She said the Health Department can only do about 25 tests a day, but several other sites in the county offer testing, including urgent care centers and doctor offices.
Health Department officials say there can be a one- to two-week lag from the time someone contracts the disease until symptoms occur, and then typically it takes one to two days between the time a person is tested and the results are reported to the Health Department.
The Health Department encourages residents to pay attention to the Health Department’s system that warns about the level of threat to the community from COVID-19 at any given time. The system uses a green, yellow or red guidance status to indicate the level of threat.
Currently the county is at the yellow guidance status, which means people should continue taking preventive steps to curb the spread of the virus.
The system also has a green level, which is less restrictive, and a red level, which would have more restrictions in place.
For more information about the system, go to jeffcohealth.org.
County coronavirus stats
Of the county’s total cases, 600 are lab-confirmed cases and 66 are probable cases, according to the Health Department.
In addition, 139 of the county’s total cases are currently open, or active, ones, the Health Department reported today.
Active cases are the number of positive cases excluding COVID-19 deaths and those patients who have been released from isolation.
The Health Department reported that the county has had 23 COVID-19-related deaths, and 504 people have been released from isolation, which means they recovered enough to be released from case management.
In addition, 61 county residents have been hospitalized due to the coronavirus, the Health Department reported.
The Health Department also reported today that 16 of the county’s cases were transmitted through travel, 356 were from contact and 294 are unknown.
According to the Health Department, 276 of the county’s coronavirus cases have been men, 372 cases have been women and 18 are unknown.
The confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county include nine people younger than nine, 25 people 10 to 19 years old, 94 people 20-29 years old, 91 people 30-39 years old, 93 people 40-49 years old, 122 people 50-59 years old, 105 people 60-69 years old, 55 people 70-79 years old, 50 people in their 80s or older and 22 unknown.
The Health Department also reported that cases in the county have been reported for the following ZIP codes: 105 cases and 74 recovered cases in 63010 (Arnold), 23 cases and 20 recovered cases in 63012 (Barnhart), 28 cases and 21 recovered cases in 63016 (Cedar Hill), 12 cases and 10 recovered cases in 63019 (Crystal City), 44 cases and 31 recovered cases in 63020 (De Soto), seven cases and six recovered case in 63023 (Dittmer), 10 cases and five recovered cases in 63025 (Eureka), 84 cases and 74 recovered cases in 63026 (Fenton), 129 cases and 105 recovered cases in 63028 (Festus), one case and one recovered case in 63047 (Hematite), four cases and four recovered in 63048 (Herculaneum), 45 cases and 27 recovered cases in 63049 (High Ridge), 19 cases and 11 recovered cases in 63050 (Hillsboro), 38 cases and 27 recovered cases in 63051 (House Springs), 76 cases and 43 recovered cases in 63052 (Imperial), one case and one recovered case in 63069 (Pacific) and 18 cases and 14 recovered cases in 63070 (Pevely). Twenty-two cases do not have ZIP code information.
In addition, the Health Department reported today that it has monitored a total of 1,065 cases, and of those, 357 are still actively being monitored and another 708 have been released from monitoring.
Brianne Zwiener, communications specialist with the Health Department, said a person who is being actively monitored has been in contact with a positive case, but is not showing symptoms.
She said people who are actively monitored are quarantined to their homes and must take their temperature twice a day for 14 days.
Long-term care facilities
Of the county’s total cases of the coronavirus, 195 have been at long-term care facilities, which includes residents and staff members who live inside Jefferson County.
According to a dashboard the state has set up, Jefferson County has had five COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities. The outbreaks have been at Festus Manor Care Center; Big River Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cedar Hill; Woodland Manor Nursing Center in Arnold; Scenic View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Herculaneum; and Fountainbleau Nursing Center south of Festus.
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.
Of the county’s 23 COVID-19 deaths, 17 have been in long term care facilities, the Health Department reported.
The Health Department also reported that of the total number of cases at long-term care facilities, 12 are active ones, and 166 have been released from isolation. Residents in long-term care facilities go through two quarantine periods before being released from isolation.
Also, according to the Health Department, 19 people from long-term care facilities have been hospitalized.
State, U.S. stats
As of today, Missouri had 25,999 positive cases of the coronavirus and 1,051 deaths related to the disease, according to the DHSS.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported the U.S. had 3,047,671 cases, which includes 64,771 new cases, and a total of 132,056 coronavirus-related deaths, including 991 new 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.