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WEDNESDAY UPDATES: Columbia city council member responds to new Boone County health order

UPDATE 9:03 P.M.: Ward 3 Council Member & Mayor Pro Tem Karl Skala responded to a comment request from ABC 17 News and said,

The reason given is that the change is data-based, i.e., "Boone County has seen a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases since the order went into effect on Aug. 28. The five day average of new positive cases peaked on Sept. 5 at 143.4, but later fell to 65.2 on Sept. 16. This decrease was in the three weeks following the order, suggesting that restrictions in place are lowering the opportunities for transmission of the virus.

In the email Skala says he was notified when he received the City's Press Release in his Council e-mail account.

He states that he would have appreciated inclusion in the discussion prior to the issuance of the order, the Director of Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services does have the authority to issue these orders as stipulated in the City Charter.

165 new cases in Audrain County; prison cases add to total case list

UPDATE 7:25 P.M.: Audrain County is reporting a 165 COVID-19 case increase after adding cases being reported at Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia.

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, the prison currently has 182 active cases with two active staff cases and 180 inmate cases. That is the second largest in Missouri after FCC in Farmington (258 cases).

The Department of Corrections is reporting there is a total of 208 cases at the prison since the March 2020 pandemic started.

In a note on the Audrain County Health Department's release, 176 of the county's 531 cases are associated with the prison. There are still 161 active cases at the prison according to the health department.

The health department is also reporting nine new recoveries.

New public health order in Boone County extends alcohol serving hours

UPDATE 5:30 P.M.: Columbia/Boone County Health Director Stephanie Browning has issued a new public health order that begins on Sept. 18 until Oct. 6 unless extended, rescinded or modified.

All restrictions under the previous health orders remain in effect.

The modifications include:

  • Entertainment venues, bars and restaurants serving alcohol must close by 10:30 p.m. The restrictions on stopping alcohol service at 9 p.m. is no longer in effect.
  • Bars, restaurants and other food establishments that do not comply with the Orders are considered to be in violation of the food code and may require the establishment to discontinue operations and remain closed until an Operational Plan is submitted and approved by PHHS as stated in section 1.20.
  • Operational Plans are now required to be submitted 14 days in advance of an event rather than the previous requirement of 30 days.

The department says the decrease in cases in the county and five day average since the August 28 peak shows the restrictions are working.

"While this is a promising change in our data, we are cautiously optimistic," said Browning. "We hope that extending this order can help continue slowing the spread of COVID-19 so that we are able to begin slowly loosening restrictions without seeing increased cases again."

18-22 age group pushes Boone County past 4,000 case mark

UPDATE 4:55 P.M.: Boone County has now passed 4,000 case mark during the coronavirus pandemic.

In their latest dashboard update, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reports 70 new cases in the county bringing the total number of cases to 4,056.

There are currently 518 active cases in the county, down 58 from Tuesday.

Forty percent of the new cases are between the ages of 18 and 22. Nearly half of all cases (1,969) is in that age group.

Seventeen Boone County residents are currently hospitalized due to the pandemic.

Missouri new COVID-19 cases, positive rate drop

UPDATE 2:15 P.M.: Missouri's new COVID-19 cases, deaths and positivity rate all fell Wednesday.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 1,191 new cases Tuesday for a total of 106,587 since the novel coronavirus pandemic began. The department reported seven more deaths for a total of 1,739.

The new cases were about 130 fewer than the new cases reported Tuesday, while the state reported 11 fewer deaths Wednesday compared to the day before.

The state's seven-day positivity rate -- the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who get a positive result over the past week -- fell a tenth of a point to 12.2%.

Health officials say rates higher than 10% are cause for alarm.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide had been higher than 1,000 for two days but dropped to 989 as of Sunday, the most recent number available.

Gov. Mike Parson will hold a COVID-19 briefing at 3:30 p.m. in the Missouri Capitol. Watch it live in the player below.

The average age of those testing positive for COVID-19 has increased in the last week to 41 years old.

Miller County reports two more COVID-19 deaths

UPDATE 1:55 P.M.: The Miller County Health Center reported the county's fourth and fifth deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The department announced the news on its Facebook page but did not provide any information about the people who died. The county reported 15 new cases on its website on Wednesday for a total of 397, along with an increase of seven active cases for a total of 64.

Seven Miller County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the county's online dashboard.

New COVID-19 cases in Miller County have been increasing rapidly, growing by 22 percent over the past week, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

"The Miller County Health Center strongly encourages the use of masks when one cannot distance themselves from others," the Miller County Health Center said on Facebook. "We wear masks to protect our friends, family, and neighbors, especially those that are at a greater risk of complications from the virus."

Free testing for the novel coronavirus is available in Osage Beach, the department said.

Saline County reports 10th COVID-19 death

ORIGINAL: The Saline County Health Department has reported another COVID-19 death.

The department posted the information on its Facebook page Tuesday, saying it was informed of the death over the weekend. The county's 10th COVID-19 death was of an 86-year-old Saline County woman, according to the post.

Saline is one of the Mid-Missouri counties with the most deaths from COVID-19, second only to Cole County, which has reported 12 deaths in people with the novel coronavirus. Seven of those deaths have been in nursing homes.

Saline County, with a population of about 23,000, has reported 647 COVID-19 cases in total. The health department says 88 of them are active. With more than 2,700 cases per 100,000 people, Saline County has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in Mid-Missouri.

Audrain / Boone / Columbia / Coronavirus / Email Alert – Breaking News / Saline / Top Stories

ABC 17 News Team

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