JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Cole County health department reported a large jump in COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday: 22.
According to their dashboard, four deaths were related to residents in the community. The department is reporting 18 deaths from residents in long term care facilities. That brings the total number of deaths in the county to 53.
This data does not mean all of the deaths happened in the past 24 hours, according to an email from the health department's director Kristi Campbell forwarded to ABC17 News by Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin.
Campbell said in the email the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has been reviewing older death certificates and counting additional deaths as COVID deaths.
She said the department does not review the death certificates to determine if they should be counted as a COVID death. She also mentioned that the Cole County Health Department is not always informed of a COVID-19 related death.
It is mandated that they are reported to MODHSS. When we receive updated reports from MODHSS, we reconcile our numbers.Kristi Campbell, Cole County Health Department
Along with today's update, there are also 57 new cases today. That brings the total number of cases to 5,696.
Mayor Carrie Tergin reacted to the jump in deaths reported and new cases by pushing the joint advisory the city and county have sent out.
"Regardless, the numbers are the numbers and we know that people are sick and some people are dying from this," Tergin said. "That's why it is so important that we follow the precautions that we have all been hearing about and talking about."
The advisory urges citizens to avoid large gatherings, keep at least 6 feet of distance, wear a mask and stay home when sick. This advisory is not enforceable.
Tergin continued to push citizens to follow the advisory to stop the spread of the virus, even without the threat of penalty.
"If people seem to be stuck on what kind of penalty they may face, they are missing the point, and need to be very clear that this direction is coming from the city and the county and our hospital leaders as well," Tergin said.
ABC17 News reached out to the Cole County Health Department and Cole County's Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman on Tuesday night for a comment, but did not receive a response.
Watch ABC17 News at 9 and 10 for a full report.