coronavirus cell

The Jefferson County Health Department reported 122 new COVID-19 cases today (Jan. 12), bringing the total number of cases in the county to 18,737 since the first ones were reported in March.

The county has an estimated 999 active cases, the Health Department reported.

Brianne Zwiener, communications specialist with the Health Department, said the Health Department doesn’t follow up with all cases anymore, and the number of active cases is meant to give the public a “general estimate.”

Of the county’s total coronavirus cases, 1,217 have been at long-term care facilities, which includes residents and staff members who live in Jefferson County.

Of the 150 total COVID-19 deaths in the county, 64 have been from long-term care facilities, the Health Department reported.

The county remains at the red level on the Health Department’s COVID-19 warning system for the 10th consecutive week.

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

To control the spread of the virus, health officials urge residents to follow the county’s face mask order, which requires residents to wear face masks while in public spaces when social distancing cannot be maintained.

The Health Department also stresses the importance of limiting nonessential travel, avoiding crowds, social distancing, practicing good hand-washing and staying home if you are sick.

Vaccines

On Monday, the Health Department reported that it would work with Mercy Hospital Jefferson in Crystal City and Comtrea, which provides health care services around the county, to plan “unified efforts” for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to county residents.

Today, the Health Department announced that representatives from the agency, along with representatives from the hospital, Comtrea and the county government, will discuss the logistics behind vaccine planning during a Facebook Live session at 5 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 14) that may be viewed on the Health Department’s Facebook page.

The planning efforts will include developing a communication plan to inform residents about when they may receive vaccines, as well as a registration system to get the vaccines.

The three organizations are required to follow state guidelines about distributing vaccines to priority populations first.

Jeana Vidacak, the Health Department’s public health preparedness coordinator, said the agency is an approved vaccination site and hopes to soon receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the end of January or the start of February.

The state currently is in Phase 1A of its four-phase distribution plan.

Phase 1A includes patient-facing health care workers; staff who come into contact with patients; and long-term care facility staff and residents, according to the Health Department.

Mercy Jefferson started vaccinating staff on Dec. 15, and county long-term care facilities are working with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents and staff.

The next phase is 1B and includes high-risk people who are 18 to 64 years old; people older than 65; first responders; and essential workers.

Phase 2 includes populations at increased risk, which includes prisoners and homeless people. The last phase, which is Phase 3, includes all Missouri residents.

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