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THURSDAY UPDATES: Boone Health reducing COVID testing hours over the weekend

A line forms outside the Boone Health coronavirus testing site on its first day, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
A line forms outside the Boone Health coronavirus testing site on its first day, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Starting Saturday, Boone Health says the hours will be reduced at its COVID-19 testing site at the Nifong Medical Plaza.

The site at 900 West Nifong will now be open from 11 to 3 on weekends. Its weekday hours will remain the same from 11 to 6.

Boone Health reminds people they must be experiencing symptoms to be tested at the site.

Officials say they did over 800 tests last week but they are seeing a drop in demand and are averaging about 70 patients per day this week.

Boone County reports 200th coronavirus-related death

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reported two new coronavirus-related deaths. That brings the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 200 since March 2020. The first individual was in the 75-79 age group and died Dec. 20, 2021. The second individual was in the 80+ age group and died Jan. 11, 2022.

Active cases and the number of Boone County residents in hospitals with COVID-19 will no longer be reported on the county's COVID-19 dashboard, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said in a news release Wednesday.

The county reported 391 new coronavirus cases.

The health department is reporting 189 COVID-19 patients in Boone County hospitals. Of the 189 patients, 30 are in intensive care and 13 are on ventilators.

Boone County ranks fifth in the state with the most coronavirus cases in total volume in the past week and is fourth when sorted by cases per 100,000. Cases are down 16.4% when comparing last week to the prior week. The county has a 35.4% positivity test rate, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports that 117,692 residents have received their first dose in Boone County and 104,420 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 65.2%. The largest county in the state is St. Louis County with 69.6%.

Boone County is third in the state with a reported 57.9% of residents that have completed their coronavirus vaccine doses. St. Louis County is the first county in the state with 61.2% of residents having completed the doses for vaccination. The city of Joplin has 61.9% of the population fully vaccinated.

Cole County has the second-highest first vaccination rate in Mid-Missouri with 55%. Callaway County is third with 51.2%.

The Columbia Public Schools reports active coronavirus and quarantine cases to their website daily. They updated it with new information from Monday.

The district reported a 379.3 14-day rate per 10,000 for Monday.

CPS reports 27 district facilities (13 elementary schools, six middle schools, two high schools and six other district-wide facilities) currently have staff out because of COVID-19.

The district is reporting 51 coronavirus cases in staff across the district. The breakdown in staff shows 26 staff members at an elementary school, eight staff members at middle schools, 10 staff members at high schools and seven staff members at district-wide facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. Three staff members at elementary school have to quarantine due to being in close contact.

The district reports 26 district facilities to have students currently out due to the coronavirus. The district is reporting 16 of the elementary schools, six of the seven middle schools, three high schools and one district-wide facility are affected.

There are 96 students that have tested positive for COVID-19. The district is reporting 50 students in elementary, 21 students in middle school, 23 students in high school and two students in a district-wide facility have tested positive for the coronavirus.

There are 18 students who are required to quarantine due to the coronavirus. The district reports four elementary students are currently quarantining, seven students in middle school, four student in high school and three students at district-wide facilities.

Health department change leads University of Missouri to stop reporting case numbers

The University of Missouri has stopped reporting numbers of student cases after the local health department changed the way it reports numbers.

MU had been reporting daily changes in the number of active student and staff cases on its website. The university reported 278 active student cases as of Tuesday -- a number that had been on an upward trend during the omicron surge.

However, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services made changes to its daily case reporting this week in response to the workload created by processing hundreds of cases per day. MU says that change means it will need to change how it reports on-campus numbers.

"On Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) administrators announced that they would be changing how they collect and report data on COVID cases in Boone County," a notice on MU's case reporting page states. "Based on this announcement, the University of Missouri will pause the reporting of all COVID data on this website. University officials will review the available data and determine what helpful information can be reported on a regular basis."

Boone County, like the state as a whole, has seen a large jump in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations from omicron -- the highly transmissible coronavirus variant that has become dominant in Missouri. The county reported a record number of patients in its hospitals as of Wednesday. That number dropped slightly Thursday.

The health department announced Wednesday that it would no longer report active cases, which had also been at a record. Additionally, the department will begin reporting cases based only on the date the test was taken, with a 48-hour delay. It can take days to process a coronavirus PCR test.

Cole County reports 114 new coronavirus cases

The Cole County Health Department reported 114 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

According to the dashboard update, there are 16,146 residential cases and 313 long-term care facility resident cases. That is 16,459 total cases in the county.

Cole County has reported 175 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began.

Cole County ranks 10th in the state for counties with the most coronavirus cases per 100,000 in the past week. Cases are down 13.6% when comparing last week to the prior week. The county has reported a 36.4% positivity test rate, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

January 2022 Case Total Per Day 1-27-22
Cole County Health Department cases by day in January

The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports about 55% of the county have initiated their first dose of the vaccine and 50.7% of the county's population have been fully vaccinated.

The Jefferson City School District reported five new coronavirus cases in students and no new coronavirus cases in a staff member on Thursday.

The district is reporting 40 active cases in students and 11 active cases in staff.

The district is reporting 169 close contacts for students and 25 close contacts for staff.

State of Missouri reports a decline in positivity rate and cases for fourth time since Monday

The state of Missouri reported 10,089 new and probable coronavirus cases for Monday.

The state of Missouri’s daily average of new coronavirus cases has gone back up to a 7,738 seven-day average (54,166 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 7,623 new coronavirus cases through PCR testing and another 2,466 probable cases identified in antigen testing from Friday, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services coronavirus dashboard. Missouri has now reported 1,051,547 confirmed cases for the pandemic and more than 253,782 probable cases.

The state recorded nine new deaths for 13,929 total and one new probable death was added for a total of 3,173.

Missouri's new cases are down 16.7% over the past week, the state reports, as recent cases surge nationwide.

The rate of positive tests is 33.3% 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.

Saline (3), Boone (4), Callaway (5), Pettis (7), Miller (8), Cole (10), Osage (14), Camden (30), Moniteau (38) and Audrain (40) counties are all in the top 40 Missouri counties in cases per capita over the last week, according to state statistics.

Source: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

The state reports that 6.75% (a .13% increase for Thursday) of vaccinated Missourians have developed COVID-19 infections. The state is reporting an increase of 4,576 breakthrough cases to 223,561 breakthrough cases out of 3,382,107 fully vaccinated people. The state has reported 1,062 breakthrough deaths.

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 55.1% of Missouri residents are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are also trending down, with the state reporting 20% of total inpatient capacity and 17% of ICU capacity remaining. Those numbers are at 30% and 29% in Central Missouri, respectively. The state is reporting 3,657 patient hospitalizations. There are currently 725 patients in Missouri ICUs.

MU Health Care offering pills, infusion therapies to treat COVID-19

MU Health Care is offering two oral medications and two infusion therapies to treat COVID-19 in an outpatient setting, according to a news release sent Thursday morning.

Under the National Institutes of Health Treatment Guidelines, patients either have to be immunocompromised, unvaccinated and older than 64, or unvaccinated and younger than 65 with other clinical risk factors to receive the outpatient treatments.

The news release said patients will also need to show a positive COVID-19 test result to be eligible.

Paxlovid and molnupiravir, the oral medications MU Health Care offers, must be taken within five days of symptom onset.

Sotrovimab, one of the two infusion options, must be administered within 10 days from when someone first starts having symptoms. Remdesivir, the other infusion treatment, must be administered within seven days.

Earlier this week, the FDA warned against the use of certain monoclonal antibody treatments since they aren't as effective against the omicron variant. However, sotrovimab and remdesivir were not included in the warning.

You can learn more about your eligibility for the treatments here.

Health experts say the treatments can be effective in keeping sick people out of hospitals, which are inundated with COVID-19 patients amid the omicron wave. Boone County reported a record 192 patients in hospitals yesterday, with 136 in MU Health Care hospitals alone.

Experts continue to push vaccines and boosters as the best way to stay out of the hospital. Of MU Health Care's hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 99 are unvaccinated.

ABC 17 News Team


1 Comment

  1. This is why news outlets, like KMIZ, should have a greater focus on providing un-biased reporting instead of providing political activism. It wasn’t too long ago that remdesivir was castigated by media outlets, including activists at KMIZ, even though it was being prescribed by medical experts. It was a little over a year ago KMIZ was publishing negative reporting of then-President Trump taking remdesivir, and publishing positive reporting on Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates Biden and Harris of proclaiming distrust towards Covid-19 vaccination development.

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