COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Another COVID-19-related death was reported in Boone County Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to four.
Columbia/Boone County Health Department officials said this is the first person 80 years or older to die in connection with the virus.
Scott Clardy, the health department's assistant director said all four people that have passed due to COVID-19 did have other health conditions along with the virus.
He also said there hasn't been a trend in a specific age group when it comes to deaths.
According to the Boone County COVID-19 Information Hub, the first two people to die related to COVID-19 in Boone County were between 60 and 64 years old. That age group has seen a total of 32 coronavirus cases.
The third death was between the ages of 45-49. That age group has seen 59 cases since the start of the pandemic. Friday's death was the first death in the 80 and older age group, which has seen 28 cases.
The 20-24 age group has seen the largest amount of coronavirus cases at 300. That age group has not seen any deaths.
“Certainly we haven't had many young people certainly know our largest group of cases is under the age of 30," Clardy said. "And we haven't seen any deaths in that age range.”
Altogether, there have been more than 600 total positive cases in people 30 and younger.
Along with a rise in deaths and cases, Boone County saw an increase in the positivity rate as well. Clardy said he doesn't see this trend falling anytime soon.
Clardy explained that when there are more people who test positive and fewer people get tested in a week, the positivity rate will increase, but he said the health department believes there are two main reasons why Boone County could continue to see that increase.
He said as the health department continues to urge and recommend close contacts of known cases to get tested seven to nine days after their last contact with that positive person, more are doing just that.
“We're identifying many of our cases that way,” Clardy said. “Which is a good thing. That means that we're finding them while they're in quarantine. And so hopefully that's decreasing the amount of spread.”
Secondly, Clardy believes more people just want to get tested as they become more aware of the virus.
Clardy said when students from all over the world plan to return back to school in Columbia in just a few weeks, the health department is worried and already expecting another rise in cases and positivity rate.
“Certainly that is a big concern,” Clardy said. “I don't think anybody is going to be surprised if we see cases go up. That's just how things are gonna work and the best we can do is just be prepared for that as best we can. And be ready to react when we start to see it.”
ABC 17 News asked what we can do to prepare for another rise?
Clardy said it's the same things health officials have said from the beginning, stay home if you're sick, wash your hands and continue to social distance.