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TUESDAY UPDATES: Southern Boone no longer requiring masks in any circumstance

Southern Boone County R-1 School District central offices
ABC 17 News
Southern Boone County R-1 School District central offices

The Southern Boone School District's Board of Education voted to change its COVID-19 plan Tuesday night, as coronavirus cases rise in the district.

Earlier in the day, Southern Boone's elementary and high schools were upgraded to the previous plan's COVID-19 red zone, which would have mandated masks in the buildings for 10 calendar days. However, after Tuesday night's board meeting, masks will only be recommended.

The school board also made changes to quarantines and isolations, which take effect Thursday.

Students and staff who test positive, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to isolate for five days. Under the district's plan, day "zero" is when symptoms first appear or when the individual tests positive for COVID-19.

After the five isolation days, individuals who are fever-free for at least 24 hours are able to come back to school. Masks are recommended, but not required, through the tenth day of the infection.

Although the announcement said "all contract tracing will cease from the district’s perspective," it also said building administrators and school nurses will still notify parents and staff of new positive cases and notify students identified as close contacts.

According to Southern Boone School District, close contacts who don't have coronavirus symptoms won't need to isolate out of school.

The approved changes mean students and staff close contacts who do not have any symptoms will be able to return to school Thursday. Building administrators will contact affected students and staff Wednesday to arrange for their return.

The district is reporting 72 students and 14 staff are out with active coronavirus cases while the number of people excluded from lessons because of close contact has nearly doubled to 423. 

Jefferson City School District issues snow day for Friday due to staffing shortages caused by COVID

The Jefferson City School District is declaring a snow day on Friday due to the staffing shortages caused by the coronavirus.

The Jefferson City School District continues to closely monitor student and staff absences due to COVID-19.

Officials say in a release that projections for the remainder of this week show that staff absences will continue to be a concern.

The district has six weather make-up days scheduled within the 2021-2022 student calendar, and as always, we will assess as we progress through the winter to determine how many days will be made up. Though schools will not be in session on Friday, the district will remain open and operational and a deep clean of all classrooms and high-touch areas will be completed.

The Jefferson City School District reported no new coronavirus cases in students and staff members Monday.

The district is reporting 47 active cases in students and 27 active cases in staff.

The district is reporting 169 close contacts for students and 24 close contacts for staff.

Cole County ranks second in the state for counties with the most coronavirus cases per 100,000 in the past week. Cases are up 67.6% when comparing last week to the prior week.

Missouri DHSS adds 130 coronavirus related deaths after analyzing death certificates

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has added 130 COVID-19 related deaths after the state’s disease surveillance system analyzed death certificates.

Officials say the deaths will be captured and reported publicly through the dashboard Wednesday morning.

Of the 130 deaths:

  • One in July
  • Two in September
  • Four in November
  • 123 in December

Officials at DHSS report the weekly activity typically causes a sharp increase in the deaths added to Missouri’s total the following day. DHSS regularly analyzes death certificates on Mondays, but due to the Martin Luther King Jr. day, certificates were analyzed on Tuesday.

Boonville School District to move to virtual instruction due to staffing shortages

Students in the Boonville School District won't be back in classrooms until at least Monday, possibly longer.

The Boonville Board of Education hosted an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss a possible transition to temporary virtual instruction. In a Facebook post, the district reported the possible transition to temporary virtual instruction is due to illness in staff and a substitute shortage.

In the 38-minute meeting, the board voted for a planning day Wednesday, virtual instruction for Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday's Preparation day will allow tech teams to distribute devices and kitchen staff to prepare meals to-go.

Superintendent Sarah Marriott has the authority to approve virtual instruction for Monday and Tuesday and will make that decision pending new coronavirus information. That decision will come at a later time.

The district reported seven staff members and 24 students with active COVID-19 infections Monday morning.

Boone County reports over 1,500 new coronavirus cases after holiday weekend

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reported one new coronavirus-related death. The death was the 194th death since March 2020. The individual was in the 80+ age group and died Jan. 2.

The county reported 1,588 new COVID-19 cases for Saturday through Tuesday. The dashboard reports that 212 of the new cases were between the ages of 18 and 22 during the holiday weekend.

Over 58% of the new cases (933) are under the age of 30 with the largest age group being 10-19 (363 cases).

There are currently 3,254 active cases in the county and 35,236 cases since the pandemic began.

The county reported 31,788 cases removed from isolation.

Boone County ranks fourth in the state with the most coronavirus cases in total volume in the past week and is first when sorted by cases per 100,000. Cases are up 46% when comparing last week to the prior week. The county has a 37% positivity test rate, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services Jan. 18 dashboard

The health department's hospital status is yellow with 167 COVID-19 patients in Boone County hospitals and 16 of them being Boone County residents. Of the 167 patients, 26 are in intensive care and 20 are on ventilators.

The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports that 116,116 residents have received their first dose in Boone County and 102,469 Boone County residents have completed their vaccine doses.

Boone County has the third-largest percentage of county residents in Missouri that have received at least one dose of the vaccine with 64.7%. The largest county in the state is St. Louis County with 69.1%.

Boone County is third in the state with a reported 57.2% of residents that have completed their coronavirus vaccine doses. St. Louis County is the first county in the state with 60.7% of residents having completed the doses for vaccination. The city of Joplin has 61.5% of the population fully vaccinated.

Cole County has the second-highest first vaccination rate in Mid-Missouri with 54.8%. Callaway County is third with 50.8%.

Fulton Public Schools to resume classes Wednesday; Bush Elementary closed due to staffing shortages

Fulton Public Schools to resume classes Wednesday except for Bush Elementary.

Bush Elementary will remain closed due to staffing shortages.

Officials report morning bus pickup times may be delayed up to five minutes.

The school district had 87 active cases Friday and 158 students and staff in quarantine because of exposure. Active cases have increased from a total of nine on Dec. 16. Fulton Public Schools reported 18 new active cases each day Thursday and Friday.

New cases are up nearly 84.9% over the past week in Callaway County, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The county is No. 3 in per capita cases over that time. Boone County is No. 1 in that metric.

Cole County reports over 370 new coronavirus cases after backlog update

The Cole County Health Department reported 376 new coronavirus cases Tuesday.

According to the dashboard update, there are 14,206 residential cases and 306 long-term care facility resident cases. That is 14,512 total cases in the county.

“Because of a reporting issue with a local healthcare system that resulted in a backlog of data, the Cole County Health Department anticipates receiving a large number of positive COVID-19 cases over the next few days from MO Department of Health and Senior Services.  The positive cases date back to the first part of December,” said Kristi Campbell, director of Cole County Health Department.

January 2022 Case Total Per Day 1-18-22
Cole County Health Department cases by day in January

Cole County has reported 174 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began.

Cole County ranks second in the state for counties with the most coronavirus cases per 100,000 in the past week. Cases are up 67.6% when comparing last week to the prior week. The county has reported a 37.9% positivity test rate, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports about 54.8% of the county have initiated their first dose of the vaccine and 50.4% of the county's population have been fully vaccinated.

The Jefferson City School District reported no new coronavirus cases in students and staff members Monday.

The district is reporting 47 active cases in students and 27 active cases in staff.

The district is reporting 169 close contacts for students and 24 close contacts for staff.

State of Missouri reports nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases over past three days

The state of Missouri reported 24,256 new and probable coronavirus cases for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

The state of Missouri’s daily average of new coronavirus cases has gone back up to an 8,755 seven-day average (61,285 confirmed cases from the previous week of reporting) as the state reports new coronavirus cases across the state according to state health department reporting. The daily average looks at the last seven days and doesn't account for the past three days, which will push that number even higher.

The state reported 19,669 new coronavirus cases through PCR testing and another 4,587 probable cases identified in antigen testing from Friday, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services coronavirus dashboard. Missouri has now reported 974,155 confirmed cases for the pandemic and more than 231,617 probable cases.

The state recorded no new deaths for 13,535 total and three probable death was added for a total of 3,082.

Missouri's new cases are down 1% over the past week, the state reports, as recent cases surge nationwide.

Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

The rate of positive tests is 34.4% for the last week. A higher positivity suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet.

Boone (1), Cole (2), Callaway (3), Pettis (11), Miller (17), Osage (27), Maries (38), Camden (39) and Montgomery (40) counties are all in the top 40 Missouri counties in cases per capita over the last week, according to state statistics.

The state reports that over 4.80% (a .01% decrease from last) of vaccinated Missourians have developed COVID-19 infections. The state is reporting 161,228 breakthrough cases out of 3,356,384 fully vaccinated people.

Experts continue to tout vaccination as the best tool to fight the wave of new cases.

Still, new vaccinations have effectively stalled in Missouri, with more boosters being given daily than first or second shots. The state reported Thursday that 54.7% of Missouri residents are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are also trending upward, with the state reporting 19% of total inpatient capacity and 16% of ICU capacity remaining. Those numbers are at 29% and 28% in Central Missouri, respectively.

State test site opening in Columbia; federal test order site now up

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will hold community testing events in Columbia starting next week.

The department's first event is planned for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in a parking lot outside Mizzou North. Testing will also take place on Feb. 1, Feb. 15 and Feb. 22.

The state has set up several community testing events in recent weeks as the more transmissible omicron variant continues to break records for new cases and hospitalizations in Missouri. A community testing event was held this month in Jefferson City. That site -- the American Legion parking lot -- will also be open Feb. 13, Feb. 27, March 13 and March 27.

The state is also sending out free at-home tests, but the limited supply tends to run out early each day.

Also on Tuesday, a federal website where households can order up to four at-home tests went live a day ahead of schedule.

The measures are meant to deal with test demand that has soared this winter as omicron became dominant and led to huge case spikes. Long lines are a frequent sight outside testing centers and at-home tests have been hard to find in stores.

MU Health Care and Boone Hospital each opened expanded testing sites this week.

True/False Film Fest to require coronavirus vaccination or negative test

The True/False Film Festival will require attendees to show proof that they're fully vaccinated or a negative test to get in, organizers said Tuesday.

The festival will also require attendees to be masked. The number of passes to films and events has also been reduced, the Ragtag Film Society, which organizes the yearly festival, said in a news release. The vaccination and testing rules will also apply to filmmakers and musicians performing at the festival.

Special mask-optional areas will be provided for eating and drinking.

True/False plans to use an app called Fan Check-In for festivalgoers to provide proof of vaccination and confirm test results.

This year's festival takes place from March 3 to March 6, with films and events taking place in several venues in downtown Columbia. True/False also scaled back last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging around the country and Missouri, just weeks before the festival gets going. Boone County and Missouri have broken numerous records for new cases over the past two weeks, but case totals over the last few days have been lower, while still high.

Missouri hospitalizations for COVID-19 hit a new record Saturday, reaching levels beyond the former peak last winter and the summer delta surge. Meanwhile, some school districts have canceled classes, temporarily gone online or instated mask mandates to deal with rising cases that are sickening students and teachers and leading to staff shortages.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said Tuesday he will sue those school districts.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

ABC 17 News Team

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