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Mid-Missouri counties with higher COVID-19 rates than Boone remain without masks as Columbia discussed new mandate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Several counties in Mid-Missouri counties have higher COVID-19 case rates than Boone County but don't seem to have a mask mandate discussion.

The City of Columbia met Monday night to vote on bringing a mask mandate back to the area. The council voted 3-3 and the emergency ordinance did not pass.

Cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 people is at 500 in Boone County.

In the neighboring county of Cole, a recent hot spot advisory has been issued as they sit at 804 cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 people.

No other Mid-Missouri counties have announced a discussion of a possible mask ordinance.

"We have not had a mandate the entire pandemic so I don't see that happening but every city council meeting we bring in local health experts to talk about the current status of COVID in the county, " said Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin.

Callaway County has even higher numbers than Cole. In the past 14 days, cases are at 845 per 10,000 people. On the state hot spot map, this puts Callaway and Cole counties as the only two in Mid-Missouri in the orange level of 718-919 cases per 100k in the last 14 days.

"The approach that we've taken from the beginning has been letting people know what the information is. We continue to encourage people to keep their distance, definitely get the vaccine, but whether they are vaccinated or not, people need to keep precautions in mind," Tergin said.

In the next level down, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Cooper, and Randolph are in the yellow level meaning that their cases per 100k people in the last 14 days in between 517-718.

Mid-Missouri as a whole has seen a massive uptake in Covid-19 patients being hospitalized. Three months ago on May 9, 40 people were hospitalized in Mid-Missouri with COVID. One month later on June 9, that number increased slightly to 53. The trend then more than doubles on July 9 to 109 before hitting a peak to 211 for the first time in 2021.

The CDC did release new guidance recommending masks for vaccinated individuals while indoors. Missouri Governor Mike Parson is not in agreement in areas bringing mandates back. "Dictating mask mandates when we have the vaccine is ignoring the real solution and eroding public trust," Parson said.

Health experts and city leaders across the area are pleading for residents to get vaccinated. Tergin said the vaccine is proven to lower the risks of people being hospitalized with the virus.

When comparing vaccination rates, Boone County is the first in Mid-Missouri and second in the entire state with 54.3% of residents initiating vaccination.

The counties in the orange level have lower rates with Cole at 46.2% initiating vaccination and 39.6% in Callaway.

The updated CDC guidance recommended face coverings for people in areas of substantial or high-risk transmission. As of Aug. 5, Schuyler and Worth were the only two counties in the state that don't fall under those categories.

Three counties in Missouri are currently in the red zone with more than 919 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, including Howell, Bates, and Marion.

Currently, Jackson County, Kansas City, and St. Louis are the only three places in the state with mask mandates in place.

Parson says policies that don't consider vaccination status is reducing the incentive for people to get the vaccine. "The vaccine is how we get rid of COVID-19, not mask mandates that ignore common sense," Parson said.

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.

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