Boone County logged nine new coronavirus cases Friday as the slowdown from the omicron variant's peak continues.
The county health department reported 42,658 total cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began. The five-day average of new daily cases peaked at nearly 700 in mid-January, but had fallen to about 14 by Friday.
The number of patients with COVID-19 in Boone County hospitals also continues to fall, reaching 41 on Friday, with just eight of them in intensive care. The number topped 100 during the height of the omicron pandemic.
Columbia Public Schools reported just one active student case on Friday.
Cole County health officials reported just two new coronavirus cases Friday. The county has now logged 17,295 total cases since the pandemic began.
Missouri coronavirus hospitalizations continue sharp decline
The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus statewide continued its sharp decline this week as the omicron wave subsides.
Hospitalizations peaked in late January, averaging about 3,800 patients across Missouri -- a record for the two-year pandemic, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' statistics. By Monday, that number was down to 1,300.
New cases are also on the decline, though confirmed cases reported Friday were higher than the seven-day average. The state reported 463 confirmed new cases for a total of 1,125,085 since the pandemic started in March 2020. Missouri logged another 271 probable cases Friday for a pandemic total of 274,634.
The average for new confirmed cases over the past seven days is 377.
Howard County is one of the hot spots for viral transmission, ranking ninth among counties for most cases per capita in the past week.
About 56% of Missouri residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, meaning they've had at least two shots.
No new confirmed deaths were reported Friday. The state reported one new probable death.
St. Mary's to ease visitor restrictions
SSM-St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City will ease its restrictions on the number of visitors patients can have starting Monday.
Non-COVID patients will be able to have two visitors at a time during visiting hours and emergency room patients will be allowed one "support person," according to a news release. Patients coming in for imaging or other testing can also have one support person. Birth center patients can have two support people throughout their stay.
Masks are still required at all times and everyone will be screened when they come in, the hospital says.
“We are again relaxing visitor restrictions after having seen a consistent decline in both the number of hospitalizations due to the virus and a reduction in community prevalence over the past several weeks,” George Hayes, regional president of SSM Health in Mid-Missouri, said in the release. “We will continue to monitor the rate of community transmission and make adjustments to these guidelines as needed.”
Cole County, like the rest of the state, has experienced a sharp decline in new coronavirus cases as the omicron wave lost power. The county health department reported just 18 cases over the final four days of February.