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Health experts warn of winter COVID-19 surge

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ.)

Health officials in Missouri are preparing for the possibility of a winter surge of COVID-19, as communities nationwide continue to fight new variants. 

Health officials are calling this batch of variants "scrabble variants," because the names of the variants start with the letters Q, X and B. These letters can rack up a lot of points in the board game, "Scrabble."

Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior services, said now it's time to get vaccinated and start getting tested when you feel sick to prevent repeating a winter surge. 

In January, Boone county ranked eighth in the state with the most COVID-19 cases in total volume. Cox said her department is working to provide more access to testing this winter.

And Dr. Robin Blount at Boone Health said during the past couple of months, COVID-19 cases have been low. However, Blount says with flu season and no mask mandates, we could see more respiratory infections. 

"You know there could be that double surge of flu and potentially covid coming through the winter. We have our procedures, we know how to take care of them," said Blount.

Kristi Campbell -- director of the Cole Count Health Department -- said in an email Thursday morning that the department expects case numbers will fluctuate as new variants arise. 

According to Missouri's Department of Health, Cole County had 33 total cases of COVID-19 in the past seven days. It averages out to 43.3 total cases per 100,000 people.

In Boone County, there were 99 total cases in the past seven days, averaging out to be 54.1 cases per 100,000 people.

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Kennedy Miller

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