COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The White House released the latest 'red zone' report for the Show-Me state, showing Missouri trending in the wrong direction in most categories.
Missouri is currently in the red zone for cases, indicating 101 or more new cases per 100,000 population. The state is currently reporting 369 new cases per 100,000.
The state is also in the red zone for positivity with a rate of 18.6 percent, which ranks 13th highest in the country. The red zone for positivity is any rate at or above 10.1 percent.
The COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 population has increased drastically as well. The latest red zone report showed a 63 percent increase in that rate, putting it at 6.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Most of Missouri is still in the red zone, with 92 percent of all counties with moderate or high levels of community transmission. Eighty-five percent of counties have high, or red zone levels.
St. Louis, Jackson and St. Charles were the three counties with the highest number of new cases, accounting for 38.9 percent of new cases in Missouri.
Other counties in the red zone for new cases include Kansas City, Joplin, Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Joseph, Sedalia and Branson.
The report noted that the current fall/winter surge of cases has been nearly twice the rate of spring and summer surges. White House officials suggest that it is possible that some strains of the U.S. COVID-19 virus may have evolved into a more transmissible virus.
The report recommends not delaying the rapid immunization of those over 65 years of age and people vulnerable to severe disease.
"No vaccines should be in freezers but should instead be put in arms now," the report said.
Officials advise that aggressive immunization in the face of the surge would save lives.
It is also recommended that universities returning after winter break move to mandatory weekly testing of all students, whether they are on- or off-campus.
The University of Missouri has required tests for on-campus students upon arrival. However, it has not announced weekly testing requirements.