COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Across the United States, COVID-19 cases have fallen 22% in the past two weeks. This trend is consistent in Missouri as cases are down by over 16% compared to last week, with 159 cases per 10,000 people.
Boone county recorded 75 new daily cases on July 27. Those numbers stayed for the most part above 50 through Sept. and have dropped drastically into Oct., with just 11 new cases reported on Oct. 9.
Columbia resident Tracy Jones, and her kids were headed to a restaurant downtown Tuesday, which is not something they have recently done during the pandemic.
"We lost a couple family members due to COVID, and I have preexisting conditions, so we were taking it really seriously," Jones said.
Sara Humm with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said although numbers are falling, "we are not quite out of the weeds just yet."
Humm said it's hard to pinpoint one or two specific things that are bringing numbers down, but case spikes have come in waves over the entire length of the pandemic.
"Which if that's the case, that is kind of what we're seeing here where we had very, very low cases in the spring, and then during the summer we did see an increase in cases," Humm said.
Humm said last fall was "rough" nationwide with the increase in cases, and with flu season on the horizon, people should continue to practice mitigation strategies.
With case numbers falling, first and second-dose vaccinations are not continuing a steady upward trend. Humm said a lot of the doses being given right now are booster doses.
On Aug. 16, when the third doses started to be administered, over 15,500 first and second doses were given and over 1,300 third doses — comparing that to Oct. 8 when more third doses were given out with over 10,000 than first and second with just over 7,500.
Columbia Public Schools have also seen a drop in cases as of Oct. 12; 64 students are in quarantine, compared to one week ago when there were 235 students in quarantine.
Jones said her kids did not attend in-person school last year because of the seriousness of the virus, but they have returned this year.
The Columbia Board of Education decided Monday to keep the current COVID-19 plan, which includes masking for students and staff, in place despite the decrease.
Michelle Baumstark, spokeswoman for the district, said CPS is still the highest in the central region in cases with 31 of the 42 buildings being impacted.
With more than half the students in quarantine at the elementary level, Baumstark said she is hopeful that the vaccine will be available for the 5-11 age group as early as before winter break.
Jones said she has been vaccinated. "That's why I have to, for them. When they finally do turn 12, she (her daughter) will be getting the vaccine, and hopefully, they'll get it approved for underage kids, and he'll (her son) will get it to," Jones said.
Health experts encourage those who are still hesitant to reach out to health care providers to get their questions answered and ensure they make an informed decision.