COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
City leaders and staff with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department continue to grapple with how to fight the coronavirus on a local level as case numbers continue to rise.
The health department reported two new deaths among patients in their 40s and 50s, only the second in each of their respective age groups.
On Monday there were 44 patients in Boone County ICUs and 149 people hospitalized. Hospital capacity was in the yellow stage, meaning they were operating within the standard capacity and delaying non-emergency procedures.
Watch a replay of the live stream the COVID-19 update from the health department below:
Earlier this month the health department announced it would extend the current county-wide health order through Dec. 22.
Staff with the health department provided the city council with the latest numbers at Monday night's meeting.
At the last city council meeting on Nov. 16, Stephanie Browning, director of the health department, announced changes to the way the department is doing contact tracing.
Monday night, the council and Browning briefly discussed vaccines.
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece met with Governor Mike Parson last week to discuss the latest on vaccines within the state.
He says Missouri is scheduled to receive 51,000 Pfizer vaccines next week, followed by 105,000 Moderna vaccines. Those will be available for healthcare workers and nursing home staff.
"And you may think, 'Well that's great news, we have 160,000 vaccines coming.' There are 350,000 people that are in those two occupations of healthcare providers and nursing home employees," Treece said before Monday night's meeting.
He said the next priority for local leaders will be working to figure out how to distribute vaccines as they become available to more people.
The mayor said the second round of vaccines the state will receive in January will be available for childcare providers and teachers, which makes up around half of the state's population.
"Of course the Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at sub-zero temperatures and a lot of that is only going to go to Kansas City and St. Louis where they have, you know, the equipment to keep it cold so they don't have to risk spoiling that vaccine," he said. "I think the logistics of getting that vaccine into the hands of those that need it most is going to be the next highest priority for us."
Browning told the council the state will work with CVS and Walgreens to distribute vaccines to nursing home employees. She also said local hospitals may vaccinate their own staff.
"Healthcare providers, if they've signed up to be a vaccinator they will probably, like, I would imagine the hospitals have signed up. They'll probably vaccinate their own people as a vaccine becomes available and our role will probably be to pick up where there's gaps," she said.