April 4, 2023

Kirksville, MO 4/4/23 – With the number of reported cases of COVID-19 falling significantly since the height of the pandemic, many people are checking off the virus as history. In fact, COVID-19 is still infecting people. Some of them are still suffering severe symptoms of the disease or death. Valena Fiscus, DO, MPH, medical director for the Adair County Health Department, stresses the importance of ongoing vigilance regarding COVID-19.

“As we move into the third year of living with COVID-19, we continue to see the evolution of the disease. Many people went from living in fear to forgetting we have a novel ever changing virus that is now endemic in our communities. We have been lucky to see mortality related to COVID-19 decrease due to how the virus has evolved combined with immunity and better treatments. But we must not forget that people still die from COVID-19 or that the virus can change again into what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic or even worse. This is why it is important for people to continue to get their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, including the current bivalent booster,” Dr. Fiscus said.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added the COVID-19 vaccines to the list of routine immunizations for children up to age 18 and adults. As of April 1, the Adair County Health Department has started offering the vaccine to adults during its routine clinic hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Those ages 19 and older who want to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine should call the clinic at 660-665-8491 to schedule an appointment.

It’s also important that people who think they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms get tested. In association with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Dynamic DNA Laboratories continues to offer free COVID-19 drive-through testing in the parking lot north of Centennial Hall on the campus of Truman State University. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is conducted via pharyngeal swab on Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-registration is not required but recommended, and walk-ups are also welcome. Register at the lab’s website at https://dynd.gettested.me/. To enter the testing site, drive west on Patterson Street to First Street. Turn north (right) on First Street then east (right) onto Randolph Street.

“Testing for COVID-19 is important because it tells us about the spread of the virus in Adair County,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator. “It’s also important so those who test positive can take measures that will keep them from spreading it to others – especially to those who may be most vulnerable to severe symptoms of the disease.”

Isolation and other precautions are far less stringent than they were earlier in the pandemic. Current CDC guidelines call for isolation for five days, depending on symptoms. The CDC offers an easy-to-use Isolation and Exposure Calculator to help you determine what you should do. Residents can also call the Adair County Health Department at 660-665-8491 for recommendations.

“Remember, COVID-19 remains within our community with a varying severity of disease,” Dr. Fiscus said. “To help continue to keep our community safe, being vaccinated helps protect those who are vulnerable as does masking, testing, and quarantining if you have been exposed or having symptoms.”

Recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for those who are fully vaccinated and booster have not yet been released by the CDC. The Adair County Health Department will advise residents regarding those recommendations when they become available.