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The Jefferson County Health Department has reported two new COVID-19 -related deaths, bringing the county’s total number of deaths from the virus to 233 since the start of the pandemic.

The two deaths include a woman in her 60s and a female in her 70s, the Health Department reported.

Of the two deaths, one was connected to a long-term care facility, according to the Health Department.

On Tuesday (March 30), the Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard showed the county had four new COVID-19 deaths, but today, the dashboard shows two deaths instead.

In all, 86 of the county’s COVID-19-related deaths have been from long-term care facilities, the Health Department reported.

The county has had a total of 22,087 coronavirus cases since the first ones were reported in March 2020.

Of those cases, 1,337 have been connected to long-term care facilities, according to the Health Department.

Orange status

For a third week, Jefferson County is in the orange level of the Health Department’s COVID-19 warning system.

The orange status is the second highest on the four-color system and indicates widespread but controlled transmission of the coronavirus.

“We experienced an increase in weekly cases once again. This increase has not pushed us into red status; however, we are classified as light red according to the White House Metric, ‘new cases per 100k per week,’” said Sara Wilton, the Health Department’s epidemiologist. “Nationally, overall cases are up about 10 percent over the last seven days as well.”

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 number of cases per day per 100,000 people.

The rolling average number of cases for the week of March 21 to March 27 was 16.19. That was up from the previous week, when the seven-day rolling average was 12.70 per day per 100,000 people in the county, which has a population of about 225,000.

If the county has 10 to 24 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people, it is in the orange level. If it has 25 or more cases per day per 100,000 people it would be in the red, or highest, level.

Health official urge residents to continue taking steps to curb the spread of the virus, including avoiding crowds, wearing masks, practicing social distancing and good hand-washing, and staying home when your are sick. They also encourage people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine clinics

The Health Department expects to hold 14 vaccine clinics during April in the building it recently leased at 1275 N. Truman Blvd. in Festus, which previously housed a Schnucks store and before that a Shop ‘n Save store.

Health Department officials said they expect 21,200 first doses and 1,000 second doses to be administered at the clinics in April.

The first clinic will be Thursday (April 1), with the goal of giving out 1,000 Moderna first doses.

Anyone who wants to get the vaccine through the Health Department must first sign up for it by completing an interest survey at jeffcohealth.org. Then, the Health Department will contact those people to make appointments when they’re eligible and vaccines are available for them. People without internet access may call the Health Department registration line at 636-789-8941.

Comtrea, which also offers health care services around the county, has vaccine clinics scheduled throughout April as well.

Nathanael Herbert, Comtrea’s marketing communications manager, said the agency plans to offer 400 second doses every Wednesday in Festus and Arnold, with 200 second doses given at each location.

Comtrea also gives all vaccines by appointment only and will contact people who have registered for the vaccine and who are eligible to receive it under the state’s distribution plan to set up the appointments. To register with Comtrea, visit comtrea.org/vaccine-inquiry.

Only those who are included in Phase 1A, Phase 1B Tier 1, Phase 1B Tier 2 and IB Tier 3 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan may receive the vaccines. For more information about the state’s vaccine plan, go to covidvaccine.mo.gov.

Mercy also has created an online sign-up method to help distribute vaccines to those eligible under the state’s vaccination plan. To sign up with Mercy, go to mercy.net/MOVaccine.

Other hospital systems and pharmacies also are registering people for the vaccines.

To find a local vaccine site, visit vaccinefinder.org.

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