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Coronavirus

Callaway County COVID-19 numbers continue to rise; colleges report cases

Downtown Fulton
ABC17 News
Downtown Fulton

FULTON, Mo. (KMIZ)

UPDATE 5:00 P.M.: Callaway county reported 20 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. The increase brings the total count to 467 since the pandemic began. Active cases in the county fell by 23 cases.

ORIGINAL: Callaway county reported 43 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday while two colleges in the county reported new cases on their campuses this week.

The rise in new cases brings the total count in the county to 447 since the pandemic began. Active cases in the county rose by 37 to make 155 total active cases. 

Fulton Mayor Lowe Cannell said he thinks the major factor to the increase in the area is the fact that school is back in session. But he said that he understands they are doing their best and doing the right things.

He said that the city has a mask mandate in place if needed.

"We do have a mask ordinance ready to go, waiting in the wings if we feel like the numbers are where we need to do that," Cannell said.

Like in other areas of the country, many of Callaway County's cases are on college campuses.

Westminster College reported 35 active student cases Thursday with 14 students isolated on campus and 21 students isolated off-campus. One Westminster employee has an active case. 

Dean of Student Life at Westminster College Dr. Kasi Lacey said the university is constantly updating their COVID-19 plan as students are  on campus.

"In regards to our cases we are actually starting to see a decline in cases," Dr. Lacey said.

Westminster has a four-phased scenario plan a part of the Stronger Than Ever 2020 plan which outlines how the college is handling the pandemic. Westminster is currently in phase 2, which means the college has minimal to moderate community transmission of the novel coronavirus. 

"I am very proud of our plan," Dr. Lacey said. "Obviously we have to continue to update because some of this information related to COVID is constantly changing."

William Woods University reported three active student cases on Wednesday. All three active cases are isolated off-campus. The university has no active cases among employees. 

William Woods' COVID-19 Safety Policy requires all students, faculty, staff and campus visitors to abide by their physical distancing and face-covering policy. 

William Woods University spokesman John Fougere said there is no playbook for holding in-person classes on a college campus during a pandemic. 

“It is something that has certainly taken, for us, an unprecedented level of planning and preparation,” Fourgere said. “It really started last spring.”

While case numbers on William Woods’ campus are low now, Fougere said that wasn’t the case in March because. The university was the only college in Mid-Missouri to have positive cases at that time -- 13 of them. 

Fougere said the university has found its plan needs be comprehensive and detailed but also flexible. 

He said by being flexible the university significantly altered the academic schedule to create a better chance at having in-person classes until Thanksgiving. Fougere also said the university has been offering classes in non-traditional places on campus such as the library, cafeteria and chapel. 

He said the students and faculty have been very adaptable to making the changes work. 

“This virus is so fluid and unpredictable,” Fougere said. “You have to be ready for curveballs that come your way.”

Callaway / Education / Fulton / News / Top Stories

Riane Cleveland

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