August 31, 2020
ADAIR COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT ADHERES TO ITS MISSION
Kirksville, MO 8/31/2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the public’s awareness of public health worldwide, including visibility of local health departments like the Adair County Health Department. Although COVID-19 is a new infectious disease for the Health Department to address, dealing with infectious disease in the county is a tenet at the core of the organization’s mission.
The Adair County Health Department’s goals include promoting good health, preventing disease and protecting the health of county residents. Typically, the Health Department responds to influenza, tuberculosis, rabies and other infectious diseases. In March, COVID-19 was added to that list. Department staff deal with the novel coronavirus in the same way they deal with all infectious diseases, carrying out activities such as contact tracing, testing and vaccinations, and providing public information based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS). Decisions to advise Adair County residents to quarantine or isolate with any infectious disease are based on CDC and MDHSS guidelines with information provided by state epidemiologists, local healthcare provider testing, and information provided to the Health Department by family members of infected individuals and other members of the community, gathered through contact tracing.
As community spread of COVID-19 increases, some members of the community are asking the Adair County Health Department to make exceptions to practices of quarantine and isolation. While the Health Department reviews the information for each case individually, the tenets of sound, effective public health practices provide the framework for efforts to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Recommendations for quarantine and isolation are based on science, research, medicine, testing technology, and best practices in public health. The Adair County Health Department is committed to continue making decisions and recommendations using the public health framework it utilizes for all infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
The Adair County Health Department thanks all of the residents who continue to take recommended precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19, including the more than 1,100 residents who have quarantined or isolated at the Health Department’s request since the first case was diagnosed in March. The Department asks that residents be patient and cooperative as we wait for the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines which will drastically slow the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
ADAIR COUNTY NEARS 230 COVID-19 CASES
Kirksville, MO 8/31/2020 – As the United States hits six million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Adair County confirms two new cases, bringing the total number to 229. The new cases are a 20-year-old female and a 19-year-old male, both infected via community spread. The male is involved with the higher education sector.
There are now 25 active cases and 204 people who have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has made 1,162 contact-tracing calls. One county resident remains at Northeast Regional Medical Center after being admitted 11 days ago. Her condition has not required a ventilator.
TWO NEW COVID-19 CASES CONFIRMED IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/29/2020 – Two males, ages 44 and 33, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Adair County. Transmission appears to be community spread. The 33-year-old lives in a household with a previously confirmed case.
The number of cases year to date is now 227, 31 of which are active. One hundred ninety-six people have left isolation.
CONFIRMED ADAIR COUNTY COVID-19 CASES AT 225
Kirksville, MO 8/28/2020 – Three more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Adair County. The year-to-date total now stands at 225 with 29 active cases and 196 cases out of isolation. One resident continues to receive treatment at Northeast Regional Medical Center, although she has not required a ventilator.
The three new cases of community spread involve an 11-year-old female, a 57-year-old male and a 35-year-old female. The 11-year-old is a student at an Adair County K-12 school. A member of her household tested positive of COVID-19 previously and both are in isolation. The school district is working with the Adair County Health Department on contact tracing.
ADAIR COUNTY COVID-19 CASES NOW AT 222
Kirksville, MO 8/27/2020 – Three residents infected by community spread bring the number of confirmed cases in Adair County since March to 222. The three new cases involve a 39-year-old female, a 29-year-old female, and a 25-year-old male. There are now 31 active cases while 191 have left isolation.
Adair County Health Department staff have made 1,156 calls in contact-tracing efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials, contact tracing is paramount to efforts to control the spread of any infectious disease, especially community spread. This is particularly true for COVID-19 due to the number of people who have the disease and are infectious, but because they have no symptoms, they unaware they are transmitting the virus
Based on the current number of calls and cases in Adair County, for every confirmed case, an average of five other people are called because they have had close contact with that individual and could be infected. In Adair County, some positive cases have had no close contact with anyone while others may identify 10 or so. During the call, staff interview the contact and determine whether to advise that contact to quarantine, be tested, or both. According to Lori Guffey, communicable disease nurse with the Adair County Health Department, staff have advised those 1,156 people contacted to quarantine for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. Those contacts are advised to call the health department if they begin experiencing any symptoms at which time, the health department may recommend testing.
“We try to be reassuring when we talk to people who have had close contact with people who have tested positive for the virus, not panic them,” said Guffey. “But we have to be firm enough for them to take it seriously if we advise them to quarantine. If they don’t, they risk spreading the disease to even more people, including their own family and friends,” she said.
Quarantine is separating and restricting the movements of people who had close contact with a known infected person to see if they experience symptoms themselves. Isolation separates known infected people from others. Both measures are designed to prevent further transmission of the virus.
People are advised to quarantine for 14 days if they had close contact with a confirmed positive person within the 48-hour period before that person started having symptoms, or if they
had close contact with an asymptomatic person within the 48-hour-period prior to that person testing positive for the virus. According to the CDC, “close contact” means:
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more;
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19;
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them);
- You shared eating or drinking utensils; or,
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
“We appreciate the cooperation we get from the vast majority of people we call during our contact-tracing efforts,” Guffey said. “That makes our job easier, our calls briefer and, we hope, helps reduce the spread of the virus. After all, that’s the goal, and it takes every one of us to get there,” she said.
ADAIR COUNTY COVID-19 CASES JUMP TO 219
Kirksville, MO 8/26/2020 – After a quiet three days, seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among Adair County residents today, bringing the year-to-date total to 219 cases. Thirty-two cases are active (in isolation) and 187 have left isolation.
The seven cases are all attributed to community spread with only one involving a household with a previously confirmed positive case. Three of the new cases are related to the higher education sector. One of the new cases is a 21-year-old male. The other five cases are females ages 34, 47, 33, 20, 19, and 31.
An Adair County resident hospitalized at the VA Hospital in Columbia was discharged today. Another resident remains hospitalized at Northeast Regional Medical Center. That patient was admitted on August 20.
ONE NEW COVID-19 CASE REPORTED IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/25/2020 – Only one new case of COVID-19 among Adair County residents was confirmed today. The case involves a 69-year-old male infected via community spread. There are 29 active cases in isolation and 183 out of isolation. There have been 212 cases since the first case was confirmed in March.
As reported yesterday, the Adair County Health Department has free masks available for children and adults. It also has a limited number of free COVID-19 Toolkits which include hand sanitizer, a thermometer, and tissue. Masks and toolkits are available while supplies last at the northeast entrance of the Adair County Health Department, 1001 South Jamison Street in Kirksville.
ADAIR COUNTY COVID-19 CASE UPDATE
Kirksville, MO 8/24/2020 – One case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Sunday, August 23, bringing the year-to-date case count to 211. The case involves a 64-year-old male infected by community spread. As of the time of this release, no other new cases have been confirmed with the Adair County Health Department today. There are currently 28 active cases in isolation and 183 cases that have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has contacted 1,130 people in contact-tracing efforts.
The Adair County Health Department now has free masks available for children and adults. It also has a limited number of free COVID-19 Toolkits which include hand sanitizer, a thermometer, and tissue.
“We recognize that some residents have difficulty finding masks and other recommended COVID-19 tools, such as thermometers, due to the demand for them in our community right now,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “We hope that by making these available, people who either can’t afford to purchase these items or can’t find them in stores can use them to take the precautions recommended to slow the spread of the virus.”
Masks and toolkits are available while supplies last at the northeast entrance of the Adair County Health Department, 1001 South Jamison Street in Kirksville.
FIVE NEW CASES OF COVID-19 IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/22/2020 – Five new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among Adair County residents marking 210 cases since March. All five are the result of community spread in the higher education sector. The new cases include two 21-year-old males, a 20-year-old male, a 20-year-old female, and a 23-year-old male.
There are now 37 active cases in isolation and 173 cases that have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has contacted more than 1,100 people in contact-tracing efforts.
205 CASES OF COVID-19 COFIRMED IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/21/2020 – As of today, the Adair County Health Department has confirmed 205 cases of COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed in March. The latest cases are both the result of community spread, a 23-year-old female involved with one of Kirksville’s institutions of higher education and a 62-year-old male. There are now 32 active cases and 173 who have left isolation. Also as of today, one COVID-positive Adair County resident has been hospitalized at Northeast Regional Medical Center. That patient has not required a ventilator. Yesterday, we reported that one Adair County resident had been admitted to and discharged from the VA hospital in Columbia, Missouri. That resident has not yet been discharged from the hospital and continues to receive care.
CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES TOP 200 IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/20/2020 – Three new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among Adair County residents today, raising the year-to-date total to 203.
All three cases are the result of community spread, with two of those in households where another person tested positive previously. The three cases involve a 67-year-old male, a 40-year-old female, and a 37-year-old female. All three are in isolation, bringing the current total number of active cases to 30. As of today, 170 people have left isolation.
Also as of today, there are no Adair County residents hospitalized at Northeast Regional Medical Center, although a previously confirmed case was admitted briefly to the VA Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, then discharged to home.
ADAIR COUNTY CASES REACH 200
Kirksville, MO 8/19/2020 – Eight new cases of COVID-19 among Adair County residents have been confirmed today, bringing the year-to-date total to 200. One case involving a 49-year-old female is travel related. The other seven cases are the result of community spread. Those include males ages 72 and 19, and females ages 19, 29, 71, and two aged 26. Two of the community spread cases are higher-education related. That category collectively includes students, faculty and staff from Kirksville’s colleges and universities.
There are currently 32 active cases in isolation, 168 cases out of isolation, and no residents hospitalized today at Northeast Regional Medical Center. The Adair County Health Department has made 1,064 contact-tracing calls.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued new information regarding reinfection and how long COVID-19 cases are infectious. According to the CDC, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether people who have had COVID-19 are then immune to the virus or can be reinfected. The CDC has found evidence that infected people can test positive for the virus for three months while they are shedding the virus, although they are no longer infectious to others during much of that period.
The CDC reports that based on data collected by more than 15 U.S. and internationally based studies, “Researchers have found that the amount of live virus in the nose and throat drops significantly soon after COVID-19 symptoms develop. Additionally, the duration of infectiousness in most people with COVID-19 is no longer than 10 days after symptoms begin and no longer than 20 days in people with severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised.”
Based on the data, the CDC recommends that retesting of asymptomatic infected people during the three-month period is ineffective since most will continue to test positive but not be infectious. But if someone becomes symptomatic during the three-month period, they should isolate again. The CDC recommends that isolation can be halted 10 days after onset of symptoms of COVID-19 and resolution of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. Those who never develop symptoms should isolate for 10 days from the date of a positive test for the virus.
According to the CDC, everyone, whether they have had COVID-19 or not, should take precautions including social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands frequently.
SIX MORE ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/18/2020 – With six new cases of COVID-19 reported today, Adair County has reached 192 confirmed cases since March. Two of the cases, a 55-year-old female and a 56-year-old male, are employees of an area meat-processing plant. The other four cases are the result of community spread, including one involving a 51-year-old male in the higher education community. The other three cases involve women ages 50 and 44, and a two-year-old boy. All six individuals are in isolation, bringing the total number of active cases to 24. As of today, there are no Adair County residents hospitalized for COVID-19 at Northeast Regional Medical Center.
“More than 50% of all cases in Adair County thus far affected employees of area meat-processing plants,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “At this point, the number of community spread cases is quickly gaining on that number. The virus is out there, so take all of the recommended precautions to avoid spreading it if you already have it, or to avoid contracting it if you’re negative. Either way, the precautions are the same. Wear a mask, socially distance, avoid crowds, wash your hands, and stay home if you don’t feel well or have any of the symptoms of COVID-19,” he said.
CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 REACH 186 IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/17/2020 – Ten additional cases of COVID-19 among Adair County residents have been confirmed since last Friday, raising the year-to-date total to 186.
A 51-year-old male and 18-year-old female are employees at area meat-processing plants. A 62-year-old female, 31-year-old male and 34-year-old male have been infected via community spread. A 36-year-old male’s case is related to travel outside Adair County. A 19-year-old female, two 21-year-old females, and 64-year-old male involved in higher education also tested positive. There are currently 20 active cases in isolation and 166 people who have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has made 1,022 contact-tracing calls to date.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT CONFIRMS NEW CASES, ENCOURAGES IMMUNIZATIONS
Kirksville, MO 8/14/2020 – Three additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Adair County, bringing the year-to-date total to 176. There are now 29 active cases, which means those individuals are in isolation, and 147 people have left isolation. None of the active cases are hospitalized at Northeast Regional Medical Center. The Health Department has topped 990 contact-tracing calls.
One of the new cases is a 30-year-old male employee of an area meat-processing plant. The other two cases are the result of community spread. They involve a 28-year-old male and a 63-year-old female. The woman was most likely infected by a member of her household who recently tested positive for the virus.
“As schools in our community are reopening or preparing to do so, we encourage everyone to be supportive of parents, students, administrators, and teachers who are making some pretty tough decisions right now,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “From the beginning, this virus has been accompanied by so many unknowns, which means the decision-making process sometimes feels like a shot in the dark. Everybody is making the best decisions they can, based on the little knowledge we have about this unpredictable pandemic. Let’s try to support the people making difficult decisions for themselves, their students, and their families and get through this,” he said.
“One decision people are usually making this time of year is about immunizations for their kids and themselves,” LeBaron said. “It’s really important that kids get the recommended immunizations, and that everyone prepares to get the seasonal influenza vaccine this fall. While we’re fighting COVID-19, we don’t need to pick fights with the ‘flu, mumps, and measles,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies are reminding people that they should still get regular immunizations despite the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, routine vaccinations are essential to protect children and adults from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks which will also ensure that healthcare systems aren’t strained any further than many already are.
The Adair County Health Department website’s Clinic page includes immunization recommendations for children and adults.
The Adair County Health Department’s clinic is open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, and 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fridays; however, visits are by appointment only. Call 660-665-8491 to schedule an appointment.
THREE NEW CASES OF COVID-19 IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/13/2020 – The Adair County Health Department confirmed three new cases of COVID-19, all resulting from community spread. The cases involve females ages 51, 48, and 25.
There are currently 34 county residents in isolation and 139 who have left isolation. Northeast Regional Medical Center reports no COVID-positive Adair County residents are in the hospital today. The Adair County Health Department has contacted nearly 790 people in contact-tracing efforts.
ADAIR COUNTY COVID-19 CASES HIT 170
Kirksville, MO 8/12/2020 – Four more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among Adair County residents, including one case involving a five-year-old boy whose parents both tested positive previously for the virus. All three are currently in isolation.
There have now been 170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Adair County since March.
The other three new cases include a 42-year-old male infected by community spread, a 28-year-old meat-processing plant employee, and a 22-year-old female who was infected at a Kanakuk summer camp in Lampe, MO. Following the July 4th weekend, more than 80 campers had tested positive for the virus and the campers were sent home.
There are now 33 people in isolation and 137 who have left isolation. Currently, no Adair County residents are hospitalized for the virus.
As freshmen begin moving into residence halls on the Truman State University campus today, university health center staff are being trained to use the Abbott ID Now COVID-19 testing instrument, as are healthcare professionals associated with the Kirksville R-III Schools.
The Adair County Health Department purchased two Abbott ID Now instruments at a combined total cost of roughly $5,000, specifically to bolster testing efforts among the K-12 and university student populations as they return to classes.
“In April, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services gave us an Abbott ID Now instrument which is located at Northeast Regional Medical Center,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “In three months, Northeast Regional has processed nearly 800 rapid ID tests from Adair County and nine surrounding counties, including Putnam, Schuyler, Scotland, Sullivan, Knox, Linn, Macon, Chariton, and Randolph. The rapid ID tests are used primarily for vulnerable populations such as nursing home residents, for healthcare workers, law enforcement, first responders and other front-line staff, and more recently for employees at workplaces including the wind farms under construction in Schuyler County,” he said. “Northeast Regional has been phenomenal, but if we find ourselves needing rapid testing among the student populations returning to schools, it could be overwhelming. After all, the hospital lab is also processing hundreds of other non-COVID-related samples every day.”
“Now, Truman State University will be able to administer and process rapid tests on students who exhibit symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive,” LeBaron said. “They will know within minutes whether or not a student is positive, and that provides the information necessary to immediately isolate that student to prevent widespread transmission of the virus. The Kirksville School District will have that same advantage,” he said. “Having that technology so easily accessible to student populations in excess of 5,000 could mean the difference between a spike in cases and controlling an outbreak.”
ADAIR COUNTY COVID-19 CASES RISE TO 166
Kirksville, MO 8/11/2020 – Eight new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed during the last 24 hours among Adair County residents. The total number of confirmed cases year to date now stands at 166.
Five of the newest cases involve employees at area meat-processing plants. Those include a 29-year-old female and males ages 33, 34, 27, and 38. Two cases are travel-related, a 23-year-old female infected at a church camp in Philadelphia, MO and a 73-year-old male infected after traveling outside Adair County. A 26-year-old female was infected via community spread.
Thirty-three residents are now in isolation and 133 have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has completed 925 contact-tracing calls to date. There are no current hospitalizations of Adair County residents for COVID-19 at Northeast Regional Medical Center.
“We don’t like seeing the numbers continue to rise when students are just about to return to school and Truman students are returning to Kirksville from cities and towns throughout the United States,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “We can’t let up on efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19 throughout our community, and we’re urging everyone to get on board with taking precautions.”
To illustrate how cases in Adair County are rising, Karen Snider, DO, FAAO, FNAOME, and Elsa Snider, MPH, developed a graph showing the number of cases by dates they were reported.
“The graph provides a visual of how cases have occurred in Adair County since the first case was reported on March 21, 2020,” said LeBaron. “Our hope is that we can turn that sharp upward trajectory downward by taking precautions to slow the spread. Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, disinfect surfaces, stay outside when possible, avoid large gatherings, and don’t touch your face,” he said. “It’s going to take all of use to turn the tide.”
SEVEN NEW CASES IN ADAIR COUNTY SINCE FRIDAY
Kirksville, MO 8/10/2020 – Seven new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among Adair County residents since last Friday. Total cases year to date now stand at 158 with 30 people currently in isolation. Five of the seven new cases are the result of community spread. Those involve women age 66 and 36, and men age 38, 40 and 63. The other two cases involve a 34-year-old female and a 34-year-old male who are employees of area meat-processing plants.
“We have now had 28 positive cases confirmed during the past week, from August 3 through August 10, 2020,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “The uptick in cases is not a good sign as we prepare for the return of university students and the reopening of our county’s elementary and secondary schools which is when we anticipated seeing more cases,” he said.
“Residents are going into crowded stores, bars, restaurants, churches and attending receptions and other gatherings, many indoors, while not wearing masks, and that’s how this virus spreads throughout a community. We’ve seen it happen in so many other places and hope people will take the small precaution of wearing masks here at least when they are unable to practice social distancing,” LeBaron said. “Every time one person decides to wear a mask, the risk of transmission declines a little. If we all wear one, we can reduce transmission exponentially,” he said.
ADAIR COUNTY TOPS 150 CASES OF COVID-19
Kirksville, MO 8/7/2020 – Five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today brings the total number of cases year to date in Adair County to 151. The five cases involve a 36-year-old female and a 65-year-old male infected by community spread, a 46-year-old male infected while traveling outside of Adair County, and two male employees of an area meat-processing plant, a 23-year-old and a 27-year-old. The median age of all cases in Adair County to date is 30.5 years.
Based on analysis of antibody testing results, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the actual number of positive cases nationwide is likely to be 10 times the number of known positives. These people might have either been asymptomatic and didn’t know they had been infected, or experienced symptoms but didn’t get tested to confirm they were positive for the virus. In either case, they would have been infectious and capable of transmitting the disease to others.
“If the CDC is accurate, Adair County could potentially have had more than 1,500 cases of COVID-19 to date,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Again, this is why it’s so important that everyone assume they’re infectious and take precautions to protect others,” he said.
SEVEN NEW CASES OF COVID-19 CONFIRMED IN ADAIR COUNTY
Kirksville, MO 8/6/2020 – With seven new cases of COVID-19 confirmed today among Adair County residents, the year-to-date total has risen to 146. The number of people now in isolation has risen to 19.
Of the seven new cases, one is a 24-year-old female infected by community spread. The other six are all employees of area meat-packing plants. They include a 49-year-old female and men ages 47, 36, 33, 41, and 37.
Statewide, 1,241 new cases were confirmed in the last 24-hour period. Although the majority of cases in Missouri year-to-date have been in the state’s most populated cities and towns, there have been recent signs of more rapid growth in rural areas of the state. Knox County, for example, spiked from seven cases year-to-date to 24 in just the past seven days, an increase of 17 cases.
“We’re starting to witness more creep into rural areas of the state,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “This is inevitable since people have been returning to more routine activities and traveling. Again, that’s why we’re urging people to stay vigilant by wearing masks, socially distancing, washing hands or using hand sanitizer, avoiding large groups of people, opting for outdoor rather than indoor activities outside of their homes, and whatever they do, staying at home if they don’t feel well,” he said.
“The fact is that now is the most critical time for us to take precautions because this is the most difficult time to control the spread,” LeBaron said. “Truman students are returning from areas that are hotspots, kids are getting ready to go back to school, people are taking summer vacations, and nearly all businesses are fully reopened. We’ve never been more exposed to COVID-19 than we are right now,” he said. “We also need to remember that Kirksville is a regional retail, healthcare, and education hub,” LeBaron said. “That means we’re watching what’s happening in surrounding counties because those residents are coming in and out of Adair County,” he said.
ADAIR COUNTY HITS 139 COVID-19 CASES YEAR TO DATE
Kirksville, MO 8/5/2020 – Five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 brings Adair County’s year-to-date total number of cases to 139. All five new cases were transmitted via community spread, and all are women, ages 19, 28, 29, 43, and 74. There are now 14 residents in isolation and 125 who have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has completed 812 contact-tracing calls.
As students return to Truman State University and prepare to return to Adair County elementary and secondary schools, the Adair County Health Department continues to encourage people to wear masks to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
“Although some of the nation’s hotspots are beginning to level off, the Midwest is becoming the new coronavirus hotspot,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, acknowledged on Sunday that this new phase of the pandemic is ‘extraordinarily widespread,’ with cases spiking in rural areas,” LeBaron said. “We’ve all felt pretty safe in rural Missouri due to our relative isolation, but that’s giving us a false sense of security if we fail to take precautions to reduce the spread.”
Missouri is one of the Midwestern states cited for spikes in COVID-19 cases and deaths. In the 24-hour period one week ago, from July 29 to July 30, Missouri counted 2,084 new cases. From Monday, August 3 to Tuesday, August 4, there were 1,193 new cases reported statewide and 11 deaths.
“Dr. Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other health officials have stated that everyone should wear a mask when they’re out in public, especially when social distancing is difficult. But we see a lot of people in Adair County who aren’t wearing masks unless they’re entering a space where the retailer or business owner has made wearing a mask mandatory,” Le Baron said. “There’s a reason for taking this precaution, and it has nothing to do with politics. Masks have been proven to slow or stop transmission of this airborne virus,” he said. “Studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have proven that wearing masks is vital because up to 50% of people carrying the virus have no symptoms or have not yet shown symptoms but are highly contagious,” LeBaron said. “Everyone should just assume they have the virus and wear a mask to protect others.”
Studies published by the CDC have also shown that wearing even a cloth mask, along with taking precautions such as frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and avoiding crowds, also protects the mask-wearer from others who can transmit the virus to them.
Dr. Birx also recommended that because so many people are resuming normal activities outside the home, they should wear masks while at home if a member of the household is particularly vulnerable to the virus either because of their age or if they have other health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and immuno-depressive disorders.
“We have no reason to panic in Adair County,” said LeBaron. “But we really, really need everyone to put on a mask to protect others and themselves. We don’t want to see cases spike here like we’re seeing in other parts of Missouri. Wearing masks, washing hands, and socially distancing will help keep every single one of us safe,” he said. “Community spread in other places has proven to be how transmission gets out of control. The fact that we’re seeing an uptick in community spread here is an early warning sign we should heed,” he said.
“I understand that some people think wearing a mask is somehow violating their personal rights,” LeBaron said. “That’s not the intent. This is like not allowing people to smoke in public spaces. Those rules weren’t put into place to take away a person’s right to smoke. They were put into place to protect the health of others who were inhaling second-hand smoke,” he said. “Wearing a mask is just the same. It protects others from infective airborne virus droplets.
“We’re okay in Adair County right now,” LeBaron said. “We’re asking everyone to do their part to keep it that way.”
SIX NEW CASES CONFIRMED IN ADAIR COUNTY SINCE JULY 31
Kirksville, MO 8/3/2020 – A 40-year-old female and a 34-year-old female tested positive for COVID-19 due to community spread. Four other cases involve employees at an area meat-processing plant: a 32-year-old female; a 46-year-old female; a 21-year-old male; and, a 27-year-old male. The six cases bring Adair County’s year-to-date total to134. Ten people remain in isolation and 124 have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has topped 800 contact-tracing calls.