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TUESDAY UPDATES: Cole County starts September with 18 new COVID-19 cases


UPDATE 6:20 P.M.: The Cole County Health Department reported 18 new COVID-19 cases to start September, extending the county's streak of days with double-digit gains to eight.

The new cases Tuesday extend a surge that picked up steam last month, when more than half the county's 849 cases were reported. The county has logged eight deaths from COVID-19 -- six of those deaths were in nursing home residents and just disclosed last week.

This Cole County Health Department chart shows daily cases in August. The chart does not include cases in nursing homes.

The county's record for daily cases came Aug. 15, when the county recorded 38.

That number could be higher -- the 57 cases reported in nursing home residents are not included in the daily totals, according to the department website.

Some Columbia Independent School students switch to online after possible COVID-19 exposure

UPDATE 5:55 P.M.: Elementary students at a Columbia private school will learn online for at least the next two weeks after a potential novel coronavirus exposure.

Columbia Independent School Head of School Jeff Walkington did not detail if a student or staff member was possibly exposed. He said the Lower School, which serves students from junior kindergarten through fifth grade, shifted to online-only instruction Tuesday.

Students in the Lower School will return to campus Sept. 14, Walkington said.

Osage County officials warn of public exposure

The Osage County Health Department is warning of public novel coronavirus exposures at two businesses last week.

The department said anyone who was at Casper's 66 in Linn on Aug. 24 or Aug. 26 should monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms after "a prolonged time period of a case in the store those days."

Anyone at the Thriftway or Dollar General stores in Linn on Aug. 26 should also monitor themselves until Sept. 9 after an asymptomatic case was in those stores.

Boone County reports 95 new COVID-19 cases; demand causes testing site to reopen

UPDATE 5:15 P.M.: Boone County extended its streak of days with more than 80 new COVID-19 cases to a full week Tuesday.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The number of hospitalizations in Boone County has been corrected.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reported 95 additional cases Tuesday for a total of 2,709 since the pandemic began in March. Active cases were up 34 to reach 691.

Another 911 people are in quarantine because of exposure to novel coronavirus -- a decrease of 31 from Monday.

Most of the new cases again came from the 18-22 age group -- 56 of the new cases Tuesday were in that demographic. The college-age range has been powering much of the surge in cases that has pushed Boone County's numbers this month and led the Columbia Board of Education to decide to start school entirely online next week.

The health department reports 1,099 of the county's cases are in the 18-22 age range.

Boone County has recorded 644 cases in the past week, including a record 131 on Saturday.

Tuesday's report pushed the five-day average of daily COVID-19 cases to 94.8, according to the health department's online COVID-19 dashboard. That number was 60.2 one week ago.

County officials said Friday that the positivity rate -- a measure of the number of people tested for COVID-19 who get a positive result -- reached 44.6 percent, meaning nearly half the people tested that week had novel coronavirus.

The county's fast rise in cases accelerated last week as the University of Missouri resumed classes. As of Tuesday, the university reported 424 students with active cases of COVID-19 living in Boone County. The growing number of cases on campus has prompted calls from some for more transparency about those numbers or a switch to more online instruction.

The extreme rise in cases has pushed a number tracked by Columbia Public Schools steadily higher for more than a week. That number -- cases over 14 days per 10,000 people in the district's boundaries -- rose to 65.9 on Tuesday.

The district on Tuesday adjusted the way it calculates the rate, using a base population of 150,000 instead of the 130,000 base population it had been using.

The threshold at which online-only instruction is suggested is 50. The increase in that rate was a key factor in the school board's vote Monday.

Hospitalizations remained high Tuesday at 42. The record was set Friday, when Boone County hospitals reported 46 patients with COVID-19. However, hospital leaders have repeatedly said they have no concerns about capacity.

Of the hospitalized patients, 14 are in ICUs and five are on ventilators.

MU Health reopens testing site, citing demand

University of Missouri Health Care said Tuesday that it will reopen its COVID-19 testing site at the Hearnes Center because of demand for tests.

The drive-thru testing site is in the softball field parking lot next to the Hearnes Center. It will reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"Testing volumes at the Mizzou North site, located at 115 Business Loop 70 W., have increased by nearly 100 tests per day in the past two weeks, causing longer lines and wait times," an MU Health spokesman wrote in a news release announcing the reopening.

The existing site at Mizzou North has reached capacity a few times and staff have had to turn people seeking tests away, according to the release.

Patients must have a doctor's order to be tested.

The site will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Lincoln University reports COVID-19 cases

UPDATE 3:30 P.M.: Five people associated with Lincoln University in Jefferson City are in quarantine because they have the novel coronavirus or have been exposed to it.

The university posted the number on its website Tuesday. Lincoln reported two students who tested positive, with three total students in quarantine because of the illness. Two employees are in quarantine after one of them tested positive, the university reported.

Lincoln's campus is open but the school is requiring its students and staff to wear masks and to keep social distance.

State reports about 1,000 new COVID-19 cases

UPDATE 2:40 P.M.: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 1,058 new cases Tuesday, one of its lowest daily COVID-19 totals in several days.

The total marks the second day of about 1,000 new cases reported statewide. Monday's number was the lowest in nearly a week.

Tuesday's new cases bring the state's total to 85,755. The state reported an additional eight deaths for a total of 1,538.

The seven-day statewide positivity rate -- a measure of how many people tested for COVID-19 get a positive result -- dropped slightly to 12.5 percent. Health officials say a rate higher than 10 percent is cause for concern.

About 991,000 people statewide have been tested for novel coronavirus, with 8.6 percent of them testing positive.

The state reported on its online COVID-19 dashboard that 942 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Saturday, the most recent figure available. The state hit a record Tuesday at 1,009.

State health officials have said hospitals are not seeing shortages in staffing or beds.

Moberly School District reports positive COVID-19 test

The Moberly School District reported Tuesday that a student or staff member has tested positive for novel coronavirus.

The district did not say whether the person who tested positive was a student or staff member. The district has cleaned and disinfected the appropriate areas and the person who tested positive is in quarantine, the district said.

University of Missouri reports more active cases

The University of Missouri reported an additional nine cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The school began providing daily updates of COVID-19 cases on campus this week. MU reported 424 active cases in students living in Boone County on Tuesday, with another 176 having recovered from novel coronavirus.

MU says four faculty have tested positive with two of those cases remaining active. Nineteen staff members have tested positive with 15 of those cases active.

Eldon, Southern Boone districts report positive COVID-19 tests

UPDATE 1:50 P.M.: The Eldon School District reported Tuesday that a high school student and an elementary staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 while the Southern Boone School District acknowledged positive tests but did not release any details.

Eldon Superintendent Matt Davis said in an email to parents that the school district was notified after a staff member at South Elementary School and a high school student tested positive for novel coronavirus.

"It is our understanding that neither of these people were experiencing symptoms while at school. School staff are following district protocols and are working with the Miller County Health Department to determine close contacts," Davis wrote.

Davis said that anyone deemed a close contact will be contacted by the Miller County Health Department. He wrote that district officials will continue to consult with the department on protocols to keep students and staff safe. He also said it is vital that parents check students for symptoms daily.

No classes have been canceled because of the positive tests, a district spokesperson said.

In Southern Boone, Superintendent Chris Felmlee confirmed positive coronavirus test results in the district but did not give any other details. School does not start in Ashland, where Southern Boone is located, until next Tuesday.

"We are very excited to meet the needs of our students and their return to school!" Felmlee said in an email to ABC 17 News.

Classes began in Eldon last week.

Boonville High School adjusts homecoming parade

UPDATE 1:32 P.M.: The 2020 Boonville High School Homecoming Parade will be stationary because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A release from the school district posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon said the floats will not move this year.

The floats will be placed in front of the high school on Sept. 24 and members of the community can drive around the school to see them.

The post said students will be socially distant and wear face masks while building the floats.

Voting will be conducted online the day of the parade.

Float contest winners will be announced on Sept. 25 during the homecoming football game, district officials said.

Moniteau County Health Center confirms third COVID-19 death

UPDATE 10:35 A.M.: Moniteau County health officials confirmed Tuesday morning a third person has died because of COVID-19.

A Facebook post from the health center said the person was at least 70 years old. No other information was able to be provided.

As of Tuesday, county health officials have confirmed 210 COVID-19 cases. The health center's website said 12 of the cases were active and 195 had recovered and that 3,067 people have been tested for COVID-19.

According to health center data, two more people have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday.

The website included 15 people with coronavirus have been hospitalized.

Releases from the health center said the first resident died from COVID-19 in May and the second on July 14. The releases said all three people were older than 60.

Lake Regional expands COVID-19 visitor policy

A Lake of the Ozarks-area hospital will allow patients to have more visitors but others won't be allowed to have any under a new policy sent out Monday morning.

Lake Regional Health System said in a release all patients will be allowed at least one support person per day, except for those being treated for COVID-19 and those in the hospital's skilled nursing facility who will not be allowed any visitors.

A previous visitor policy sent out in June said all patients, except those in the hospital's skilled nursing facility, would be allowed at least one visitor per day.

The release included patients at the hospital's pediatric and family birth center may have two support people per day. It added patients receiving end-of-life care may have up to three visitors.

According to the release, all visitors must be older than 18, pass a COVID-19 screening and wear a mask, as well as, staying in patient rooms while inside hospital facilities.

Visitors will not be allowed in waiting rooms or common areas.

Inpatient visiting hours are scheduled between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., the hospital said.

ABC 17 News Team


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