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TUESDAY UPDATES: Boone County’s new COVID-19 cases near 70

UPDATE 4:30 P.M.: Boone County's reported 68 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday after spending the last two days below 50.

The county reported its fewest new COVID-19 cases in weeks Monday, with 16. But the number climbed Tuesday to a level closer to that seen over the last two weeks, when new daily cases have mostly hovered between 50 and 100.

The 68 new cases bring the county's total since the COVID-19 pandemic began to 4,370. The county reported 359 active cases, a drop of 14.

Another 1,158 people were in quarantine Tuesday because of exposure to novel coronavirus -- an increase of more than 50 from the day before.

The number of patients with COVID-19 in Boone County's hospitals stayed steady Tuesday at 51. That's 10 below the record but well beyond the numbers hospitals have reported over most of the six-month pandemic.

Of the hospitalized patients, 22 are in intensive care and 14 are on ventilators.

Boone County's new cases have settled at a level well below their early September peak, when they were higher than 100 for four straight days. That has helped push down a rate tracked by Columbia Public Schools to less than the threshold where students might return to buildings part-time.

CPS tracks the number of cases over 14 days per 10,000 people in the district boundaries. That number hit 49.2 on Monday. CPS administrators have said the number is one factor in deciding whether classes take place in person. If the rate reaches 50, it is recommended that classes be held online.

The rate got as high as 91.4 during Boone County's peak for new infections.

The Columbia Board of Education is set to meet Thursday and is expected to re-evaluate how classes should be conducted. Students are currently taking classes entirely online.

The cooling off in new case also caused Columbia and Boone County to drop out of the "red zone" for the rate of new infections in the latest report prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

However, several Mid-Missouri cities including Jefferson City and Moberly and counties including Cole, Camden, Callaway, Phelps, Miller, Pulaski, Randolph, Moniteau, Osage and Maries are listed as hot spots.

State attributes COVID-19 death spike to reporting delays

UPDATE 3 P.M.: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services attributed its Tuesday spike in COVID-19 deaths to delays in entering data into the state's system.

"The numbers we add to the state’s total death count today and tomorrow will include deaths that occurred prior to the past 24 hours," the department said on social media after reporting 57 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday.

Mid-Missouri counties have reported several new deaths already this week, including four in Morgan, five in Pettis and one in Miller counties.

University of Missouri touts decline in active cases

The University of Missouri is touting the decline in active COVID-19 cases in students who live in Boone County.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said Tuesday that active cases have fallen nearly 82% since Sept. 5. The number of active cases dropped by 30 on Tuesday, settling at 124.

Basi said 24 students who tested positive are in isolation in facilities owned or leased by the university and another 46 students are in quarantine because they've been exposed to novel coronavirus.

No MU students are hospitalized.

Missouri reports spike in COVID-19 deaths

UPDATE 2:40 P.M.: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported the state's highest COVID-19 death total in more than two weeks Tuesday.

The department reported 57 new deaths for a total of 1,864 since the pandemic began. The state reported 1,059 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 115,366.

The 57 deaths reported Tuesday come on the same day the United States passed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. It's the highest total since 77 deaths were reported Sept. 5. Several of the deaths reported Sept. 5, however, were from an information backlog that was being entered into the state's data system.

State health authorities have not indicated a similar situation that led to Tuesday's elevated total.

The seven-day positivity rate dropped a tenth of a percent to 11.5%. The rate measures the number of people tested for COVID-19 who get a positive result.

The greatest portion of Missouri's death -- 922 -- are in people ages 80 and over, according to the department's online COVID-19 dashboard. It wasn't clear how many of the deaths reported Tuesday were in that age group.

Deaths are surging in Mid-Missouri, as several counties have reported multiple COVID-19 deaths over the last few days. On Monday, Pettis County reported five new deaths, Morgan County reported four and Miller County reported its third in five days.

The number of hospitalizations statewide dropped below 1,000 for the first time in five days, with 981 Missourians with COVID-19 in hospitals as of Saturday -- the most recent figure available.

Counties around the state continue to report new cases but at rates lower than earlier in the summer. However, the state remains well above the national average for new cases, according to the White House "red zone" report.

Cases are still growing quickly in Morgan County, which has entered the state's top 10 for greatest case growth by percentage over the past week. Boone County remains seventh for total cases statewide.

Randolph County reports third COVID-19 death

ORIGINAL: The Randolph County Health Department reported the county's third death related to COVID-19 on Monday.

The department reported the death in its weekday post updating COVID-19 case numbers. No information was given about the person who died.

The county reported an additional 15 cases between Friday and Monday for a total of 257. The number of active cases grew by 10 for a total of 62.

Seven Randolph County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Monday was an especially deadly day of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mid-Missouri. Morgan County reported four COVID-19-related deaths, Pettis County reported five new deaths and Miller County reported its third death in five days.

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ABC 17 News Team

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