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FRIDAY UPDATES: Health officials warn of increasing spread of COVID-19 as Cole County logs new record

UPDATED 6 P..M.: The Cole County Health Department said in a statement Friday that community spread of the novel coronavirus is increasing while logging a new record for daily COVID-19 cases.

The department said about 70 percent of all cases in Cole County can be traced to contact with a sick person or travel. But the share of those picking up the virus from an unknown source is increasing.

The department's website was later updated to show 26 new cases since Thursday, breaking the old daily record of 18. The health department also reported 14 more active cases to push that total to 101.

The county recorded 18 new cases twice in the past week.

The department emphasized the need to continue measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19, including frequent handwashing and social distancing. But the department also said residents should wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

Cole has experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases this summer, coinciding with a jump in cases statewide and in other Mid-Missouri counties. The county fell just short of its daily record for new cases Wednesday with 17.

Cole County had not updated numbers to reflect new cases Friday at the time of this publication.

Several local counties added new cases to their totals Friday. Pettis logged 10 new cases while Boone County recorded 27 new cases. Other area counties logging increases include Osage, Miller, Morgan, Saline and Howard.

Boone County COVID-19 positive rate rises

UPDATED 4:45 P.M.: Boone County's rate of positive COVID-19 tests continued its upward trend last week.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services published the rate Friday, covering the week that ended Thursday. For last week, the rate of positive COVID-19 tests was 9.7 percent, according to the health department's online COVID-19 hub.

The rate was 7.7 percent the week before and 7.1 percent the week before that.

Even with the continued upward trend, the rate last week remained well below its peak of 15.8 percent about a month ago.

The health department reported 27 new cases Friday, the highest daily total since Saturday's record 60 cases. Friday's report pushed the five-day average of new daily cases up to 19.6 from the 17.6 reported Thursday.

Boone County now has 1,345 cases with 202 of them active. Active cases dropped by 14 on Friday as recoveries offset many of the new confirmed cases.

Another 634 close contacts of infected people were in quarantine, the health department reported.

The county also reported its fifth COVID-19 death on Friday.

This summer's jump in COVID-19 cases in Boone County prompted health officials to announce Thursday the extension of the current health order with some modifications. The modified order takes effect Monday and remains in effect until the end of August.

Among the new provisions is one requiring restaurant and bar customers to remain seated unless entering or leaving the business or using the restroom. The order requires customers to wear a mask if they get up from their seats.

It also limits groups at restaurants and bars to 10 people.

Health officials reported 24 people with COVID-19 in Boone County's hospitals on Friday, down from 26 the day before. Six patients are on ventilators.

The hospitals reported no shortages.

Pettis County residents sue health center over COVID-19 mask rule

UPDATED 4:05 P.M.: A group of Pettis County residents has sued the Pettis County Public Health Center and the county government, seeking to overturn a mask order.

The health center released the order, which it called an "emergency rule," Thursday on its Facebook page.

The emergency rule was issued under the authority of the Pettis County Health Center Board of Trustees and went into effect at midnight Friday, according to the document.

However, the eight Pettis County residents trying to overturn the rule say it was approved improperly and requires the county commission's OK to have the force of law. The petition asking a judge to end the rule says the commission has not approved the order.

The health center's order requires people to wear face coverings in public places where social distancing cannot be maintained. It includes many exemptions, such as children younger than 5, the hearing impaired and people with certain medical conditions.

Pettis is among the Mid-Missouri counties experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases this summer. The health center reported 471 total COVID-19 cases on Friday with 113 of those active. Nearly 100 new cases have been reported in Pettis County in the past week.

No one answered the phone at the health center late Friday afternoon. No lawyer was listed for the health center in online court records.

University of Missouri adds to growing list of pay cuts, layoffs

UPDATED 3:22 P.M.: The University of Missouri added to its growing list of COVID-19 related budget cuts on Friday.

According to data posted on the University of Missouri Human Resources website, layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts all increased over the last week.

Total layoffs increased by eight, furloughs went up 24 and pay cuts saw a bump of 12 since July 31.

The budgetary actions resulted in savings of about $430,000, increasing the total amount over the pandemic to $19.25 million.

The savings are about $8 million short of the $27.1 million budget gap the university has been working to close since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Missouri falls below 1,000 new COVID-19 cases

UPDATED 2:25 P.M.: Missouri recorded fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, snapping a streak of four days with that number at more than 1,000.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 996 new cases Friday. It was the first day that number went below 1,000 since Sunday, when 582 new cases were reported.

Missouri set its daily case record last week with 2,084 cases reported July 30.

The state reported 21 new deaths, the highest total in more than two weeks.

The rolling seven-day percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 increased slightly Friday to reach 10.7 percent.

The state has experienced a surge in cases this summer that officials attribute to wider spread of the virus. The governor and state health director have said the average age of those testing positive for COVID-19 continues to drop.

The trend is similar to one seen in Boone County, where more young people are also contracting the virus. While those younger people are less susceptible to the most severe effects of COVID-19, they can spread the disease to more vulnerable people.

The state reported 930 hospitalizations as of Tuesday -- the hospital data is reported with a 72-hour delay. The peak for hospitalizations during the pandemic was on May 5, when 884 people with COVID-19 were in Missouri hospitals, according to the state's online COVID-19 dashboard.

Hospitalizations had fallen significantly after that early May peak but have since trended back up as the state sees more COVID-19 cases.

In Mid-Missouri, Maries County remains one of the top 10 for fastest growth in cases and Boone County remains in the top 10 statewide for sheer number of cases.

5th Boone County resident dies from COVID-19

ORIGINAL: The Columbia/Boone County health department tweeted Friday afternoon a fifth county resident has died from COVID-19.

Health officials said in the tweet the person was between 65-69 years old.

According to health department data, the death is third for the age range.

Health department assistant director Scott Clardy said last week all of the people who died from COVID-19 had other health issues. It's unclear if the fifth person who died also had underlying issues.

The health department confirmed the fourth coronavirus-related death a week ago.

Boone / Columbia / Email Alert – Breaking News / Lincoln University / News / Top Stories

ABC 17 News Team

Comments

1 Comment

  1. The more cases that are “discovered”, with what is a useless test, the more prestige and importance that Cole County Health Department can claim, and possibly more money. There are abundant instances where one who tests positive, is a few hours later tested negative, and vice versa. There are virtually zero facts available regarding Covid-19 at all. Including whether it exists or not. Koch’s postulate has never been done, which means the visual model of the virus you often see is nothing more than an artistic rendition. Unlike all other disease causing viruses, Covid-19 has NEVER BEEN SEEN. It has never been isolated and introduced to a healthy subject to see if it will cause infection. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, just that there are no facts involved in such assumption. Just as there are no facts involved in whether isolation, social distancing, masking, etc. are effective measures. There is one fact. Those areas where the strictest such measures are applied are often those areas with the worst results.

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