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The Jefferson County Health Department has reported 112 new COVID-19 cases, including 15 at long-term care facilities. The 112 cases is the highest number of cases reported in a single day since the first ones were reported in March.

The record number of cases comes two days after the Health Department moved the county back to the orange alert level on its four-color COVID-19 warning system. The county had been at the red level, or highest level, for a week.

Orange is the second highest level on the system and indicates widespread but controlled transmission of the virus.

The four-color warning system was devised on Aug. 12, and the county had been at the orange level from that date until Sept. 8, when the Health Department moved the county to the red level.

Health Department officials said the main indicator used to determine the color level is the seven-day rolling average of cases per day/per 100,000 residents. The red level indicates the county, which has a population of about 225,000, is seeing 25 or more cases per 100,000 people per day. The orange level indicates the county is seeing 10 to 24 cases per 100,000 people per day.

Brianne Zwiener, Health Department communications specialist, said the agency looks at the data everyday for trends, but the data is reviewed every Tuesday to see if the color level needs to be changed. She said the earliest the color could be changed again would be Tuesday (Sept. 22).

Health Department officials urge residents to take preventive steps to limit the spread of the virus, including avoiding crowds, social distancing, wearing masks and frequently washing hands.

COVID-19 stats

With the cases reported today (Sept. 17), the county has had a total of 3,789 cases since the pandemic began.

Those cases are through midnight Wednesday (Sept. 16).

Of the total cases in the county, 948 are open, or active, ones – the highest number of active cases the county has seen.

Active cases are the number of positive cases excluding COVID-19 deaths and those patients who have been released from isolation.

The Health Department has reported a total of 54 COVID-19-related deaths in the county and a total of 2,777 cases that have been released from isolation, which means the patients recovered enough to be released from case management.

Another 10 cases are under investigation, the Health Department reported.

Of the total cases in the county, 3,497 are lab confirmed and 292 cases are probable. A case is considered probable when a person has been exposed to a positive case and is exhibiting symptoms, according to the Health Department.

The Health Department also reported today that it has monitored a total of 3,794 cases, and of those, 872 are still actively quarantined and another 2,922 have been released from quarantine.

Zwiener 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 coronavirus cases, 547 have been at long-term care facilities, which includes residents and staff members who live inside Jefferson County.

Of the 54 COVID-19-related deaths, 41 deaths have been in long-term care facilities, the Health Department reported today.

The county has had at least 18 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.

The Health Department also reported that of the total number of cases at long-term care facilities, 200 are active ones, and 306 have been released from isolation.

State, U.S. stats

Missouri had 106,587 positive cases of the coronavirus and 1,739 deaths related to the disease, the DHSS reported today.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the U.S. had 6,613,331 cases, and a total of 196,277 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.

Testing

Any Missouri resident who wants a COVID-19 test may get one for free next week at Faith Community Church, 4824 Scottsdale Road, in House Springs.

The testing will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 22) and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 23).

Vollmar said she hopes to see more than 900 people tested at the event.

“The more testing we can do, the better picture we have of what’s going on within the community as far as community spread,” she said.

The Jefferson County testing event is just one of several being held around the state. The cost of the testing will be covered by CARES Act funding, the report said.

Anyone who would like to register for the event may visit health.mo.gov/communitytest or call the Missouri COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411.

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