July 31, 2020


Kirksville, MO 7/31/2020 – As of July 31, 2020, Adair County has had 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its residents. The most recent two cases involve a 26-year-old male working for a meat-processing plant and a 25-year-old female infected via community spread.

There are now eight residents in isolation and 120 who have left isolation since the first case was confirmed on March 21, 2020.



Kirksville, MO 7/29/2020 – A 25-year-old male and 54-year-old female have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the year-to-date case count for Adair County to 126. Both were infected as the result of community spread. There are now nine residents in isolation and 117 who have left isolation.



Kirksville, MO 7/28/2020 – Additional testing of an 80-year-old male at The Pines has confirmed that the resident is negative for COVID-19.

Following the July 21, 2020 positive test of an employee of The Pines, all residents and all employees were tested twice to determine whether the virus had been transmitted to anyone else in the facility. The 80-year-old resident was tested initially using the ID Now rapid test which was negative. The subsequent test, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, came back positive, so he was tested a third time using the ID Now. When that test showed negative results, The Pines, at the recommendation of Justin Puckett, D.O., who is the physician advisor to the local Emergency Operations Command for COVID-19, conducted another PCR test and an antibody test. The results of the last two tests are negative.

“Although PCR tests have proven to be extremely reliable, they aren’t perfect 100% of the time,” Puckett said. “In this case, we believe the resident’s second test was a false positive, based partly on the fact that three other tests were negative and substantially on the fact that the antibody test showed no evidence of him ever having the virus,” he said.

Puckett said that false positives are far better than false negatives because the latter gives a false sense of security. Because two of the three initial tests were negative, and because the resident never exhibited symptoms of COVID-19, Puckett was suspicious about the positive test result. With the fourth test returning negative results and the antibody test showing no presence of the virus, The Pines will return to the limited facility access to the facility that was in place following the initial shutdown in April. The subject resident has been released from quarantine.

“The Pines did everything right. Upon learning of the positive test result of the employee, they tested all employees and residents twice and restricted access to the facility. When the resident tested positive in the second round of testing, he was quarantined immediately to limit potential exposure,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department.

“Immediate, decisive action taken by The Pines was critical in keeping the virus from spreading through the facility like we’ve seen happen in other places throughout the United States,” he said. “Residents of long-term care facilities are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and need the most protection.”

The Pines employee remains in isolation, along with six other Adair County residents. Adair County has experienced no deaths from COVID-19 and only three people have required hospitalization. One hundred seventeen residents have left isolation.



Kirksville, MO 7/27/2020 – The Adair County Health Department reports that there have now been 124 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 since testing began at the end of March. Four of today’s four cases are the result of community spread, a 25-year-old male, a 20-year-old male, a 54-year-old female, and a 61-year-old female. The fifth case is an 80-year-old male resident at The Pines long-term care facility.

On July 21, 2020, an employee of The Pines tested positive for the virus. Since then, all employees and residents have been tested twice. Out of 296 tests, only one has come back positive.

“In the first round of testing, we did 38 ID Now rapid tests and 110 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasopharyngeal swab tests,” said Jim Richardson, administrator of The Pines. “All 148 tests in the second round were PCR tests,” he said.

The resident who had a positive test result has now been tested four times. His test results were negative the first time then positive the second time. Following the positive PCR test, he was given a rapid test which came back negative. With differing results, the resident was tested a fourth time and the results of the PCR test are expected soon. He is currently in quarantine, pending the results of the test.

There are now ten residents in isolation and 114 who have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has completed 780 contact-tracing calls.




Kirksville, MO 7/24/2020 – Three more Adair County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 which brings the county’s year-to-date case count to 119. The three cases involve a 59-year-old male who works at an area meat-processing plant, a 52-year-old female who traveled outside of Adair County, and a 69-year-old female who was infected by community spread. There are now seven people in isolation and 112 who have left isolation.

The 116th case reported on July 21, 2020, involved an employee of The Pines. No one else has tested positive following a first round of testing of employees and residents of the facility. A second round of testing is being conducted today.

“We’re encouraged by the results so far with COVID-19 testing at The Pines,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “The employee who tested positive wore a mask at all times when working at the facility. Wearing a mask and practicing good hygiene at a job where social distancing isn’t always possible made a difference,” he said.

“If the virus has not been passed on to anyone else who lives or works in the facility, it’s not just luck. It’s a testament to the difference wearing a mask, hand hygiene, and disinfecting commonly used surfaces can make to slow the spread of the virus,” LeBaron said.



Kirksville, MO 7/21/2020 – A 40-year-old female is the 116th confirmed case of COVID-19 in Adair County. There are currently 11 people in isolation and 105 who have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has reached out to 750 people in its contact-tracing efforts.

The latest case involves an employee of The Pines long-term care facility in Kirksville. The Pines is testing all residents and employees using the Abbott ID Now rapid testing system. If any employee or resident who tests negative begins to exhibit symptoms, they will be tested again using the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test which requires more time to obtain results.

The Pines employee’s temperature was normal when taken upon her arrival at the facility. Later, her throat started becoming sore which she reported to her supervisor, was immediately tested, and sent home to quarantine. She is now in isolation.

“We’re doing everything we can to protect our residents and our staff,” said Jim Richardson, administrator of The Pines. “Since the first case in Adair County, we’ve been restricting access to the facility, wearing N95 masks and other protective gear, and keeping the facility disinfected,” he said. “But at the end of their shift, our employees go home or to the grocery store or somewhere else where they can be infected. None of us lives in a bubble. We can only react quickly if someone does become infected,” he said.

“This is what happens with community spread,” said Jim LeBaron, Adair County Health Department administrator. “People pick up the virus somewhere in public and don’t immediately know they have it. Some don’t get the expected symptoms, like a temperature, and some have no symptoms at all. But once you’re infected, you’re infecting other people. That’s why wearing a mask, keeping your distance, and washing your hands is so very important to protecting other people,” he said.

Unlike other places in the country, Adair County has not experienced high numbers of known infections and cases have been relatively mild. Only three of the 116 people who tested positive have required hospitalization and none required a ventilator.

“We all need to continue taking precautions to keep transmission as low as possible,” LeBaron said. “But when we identify a case, we immediately react to take precautions, implement testing, and conduct contact-tracing efforts to learn where a person might have been infected and who else that person has come into close contact with,” he said.

The Adair County Health Department and the county’s Emergency Operations Command have worked to make the rapid testing available for healthcare providers and vulnerable populations, including long-term care facilities and nursing homes throughout northeast Missouri. For example, the Abbott ID Now equipment is located in Northeast Regional Medical Center whose lab staff process the tests. The Adair County Ambulance District maintains the inventory of ID Now test kits so they can be distributed rapidly to places where needed, like The Pines. The Kirksville Fire Department maintains an inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use throughout the region should any facility run low.

“It takes all of our partners throughout the region, working together, to be responsive in situations exactly like this one,” LeBaron said. “Now is no time for any facility to have to go it alone. This is about the health of our entire community, and it takes every single one of us to keep it as healthy as possible,” he said.




Kirksville, MO 7/20/2020 – A 21-year-old female who traveled outside the state is the latest Adair County resident to test positive for COVID-19. While Adair County’s 115 cases are lower than other parts of the state, Missouri hit a one-day total record of 958 new cases on Saturday. Missouri has surpassed 33,000 cases.

The Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence (MOCPHE) on July 15, 2020, formally recommended “…the use of face masks by the general public when outside the home and supports face mask requirements due to substantial evidence that they decrease the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Face masks will continue to be a critical tool to fight this virus as evidence grows that COVID-19 is spread by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals and face-to-face interactions increase.”

The mask recommendation is based upon research, modeling, and scientific analysis. In Missouri, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City, North Kansas City, Rolla, Springfield, St. Joseph, and St. Louis, as well as Boone, Clay, Jackson, Johnson, Platte and St. Louis counties mandate that people wear masks outside their homes.

“We haven’t experienced a huge spike in cases in Adair County, although the number of cases continues to rise,” said Jim LeBaron, Adair County Health Department administrator. “But science repeatedly demonstrates that wearing masks dramatically slows transmission of COVID-19. That’s why we’re asking that people follow MOCHPE’s recommendation and wear a mask when they leave their homes and enter a public space of any kind. Doing this one little thing just might keep us from experiencing what other communities and states are going through,” he said.

MOCPHE comprises public health members throughout the state, including the Adair County Health Department. Information about the research and MOCPHE’s mask recommendation.



Kirksville, MO 7/17/2020 – Three new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed today, bringing the total number of cases in Adair County to 114. The new cases involve a 33-year-old male meat- processing plant employee, a 46-year-old female infected by community spread, and a 21-year-old female whose case is related to travel.  Eleven county residents are currently in isolation and 103 people who previously tested positive have left isolation.

“Adair County continues to have fewer cases of COVID-19 than many other counties in the state,” said Jim LeBaron, Adair County Health Department administrator. “To keep it that way, we’re encouraging people to voluntarily wear masks when around people outside of their household, to maintain social distancing, to practice good hand hygiene, and to stay at home if they don’t feel well. If we all take these steps to protect the people around us, maybe we can keep Adair County a safe place to be,” he said.



Kirksville, MO 7/16/2020 – Two new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed today, bringing Adair County’s year-to-date total to 111 cases. The cases involve a 27-year-old female attributed to travel and a 22-year-old male attributed to community spread. There are currently eight people in isolation.

Jim LeBaron, Adair County Health Department administrator, said that so far, the county’s cases are low compared to other Missouri counties and other states, and there have been no deaths or cases serious enough to require ventilators.

“That said, the Adair County Health Department needs everyone’s help to keep our case counts low and keep our residents healthy,” LeBaron said. “Businesses have reopened and our economy is improving. Schools and universities are preparing to reopen in August. It’s time for each of us in Adair County to ask ourselves what we can do to support our hospitals, first responders, economy, businesses, and schools while protecting the other residents in our county – especially those who are most vulnerable to this virus,” he said.

LeBaron recommended six actions everyone can take to help keep Adair County as healthy as possible:

  1. Voluntarily make a personal investment to our community by wearing a face covering when in public for at least the next four weeks. This is a great way to protect one another, slow the spread of the virus, and welcome students back to school. Doing this now might help us avoid another shutdown in the fall.
  2. Maintain social distancing of six feet or more from anyone you don’t live with every time you’re around other people.
  3. Practice good hand-washing hygiene.
  4. Stay at home if you don’t feel well or if you suddenly lose your sense of taste or smell.
  5. Avoid large gatherings. The greater the number of people, the greater the risk of virus transmission.
  6. Respectfully observe and abide by the wishes of businesses, healthcare settings and other places that require masks be worn to protect their employees, patrons, patients, and visitors. Remember that everyone else wearing a mask is protecting you.

“Some people might wonder if taking these precautions is ‘worth it,’” LeBaron said. “I fully believe it is, based on what we’re witnessing in places where the virus is rampant.

“None of us want to be told what to do and how to do it, but for right now, each of us needs to do some things we don’t normally do to keep each other safe and healthy,” he said. “It’s good for our economy, our business and industry, our schools, our healthcare providers, our family, friends and neighbors and, yes, for our own personal health.”




Kirksville, MO 7/15/2020 – No new cases of COVID-19 among Adair County residents have been confirmed today, holding the year-to-date case count at 109. Five people have left isolation since yesterday, leaving only six still in isolation.

Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department, said the infection sources of the 109 cases have followed a distinct trend.

“When Missouri and Adair County began sheltering in place in late March and early April, our first 13 cases were related to travel and community spread. From mid-May through the end of June, most cases were related to area meat processing plants, although there continued to be some cases of community spread,” LeBaron said. “In the last 15 days, we’ve had 14 cases reported with only one related to a plant. The other 13 have been identified as community spread, travel related, and three related to a religious gathering. That’s because people have been venturing back out into the community, holding group events again, and restarting travel,” he said.

LeBaron said that reopening Adair County was expected to result in an uptick of cases related to travel, community spread, and large gatherings, particularly in the midst of summer holidays.  While reopening the economy has benefited local businesses, the risks of transmission of COVID-19 have not really changed.

“The virus is still out there and will be until we have vaccines available. That means that while people are venturing out again, they need to remember to take precautions to avoid outbreaks like we’re seeing in other parts of the state and the nation,” LeBaron said.

“Remember to maintain social distancing and wear a mask when doing so is difficult or impossible. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizers when soap and water aren’t readily available,” he said. “Be smart, be safe, and take steps to protect people around you, especially the elderly, chronically ill, and others who are most vulnerable to the disease.”



Kirksville, MO 7/14/2020 – Cases of COVID-19 reached 109 among Adair County residents today with a 27-year-old male in a travel-related exposure. He is now one of 11 people in isolation. Ninety-eight people have left isolation after testing positive since the beginning of the year. More than 3,000 tests have been performed in Adair County to date.

Any Missouri resident can register for a free COVID-19 testing clinic administered by the Missouri National Guard at the Macon County Fairgrounds on Monday, July 20, 2020 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Macon County Health Department, in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, is hosting the National Guard’s testing clinic.

No physician’s order for testing is necessary; however, registration is required. Visit www.health.mo.gov/communitytest to register online or call 877-435-8411 to register by phone.



Kirksville, MO 7/13/2020 – A 64-year-old male, a 20-year-old female, and 21-year-old female have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county’s year-to-date total to 108. The man’s case and the 21-year-old woman’s case are related to community spread and the 20-year-old’s case is related to travel.

Twelve residents are currently in isolation and 96 people have left isolation. To date, only three of the 108 infected people have required hospitalization, and none have required use of a ventilator. Staff with the Adair County Health Department have exceeded 720 contact-tracing calls.

“As the pandemic continues, people are hearing a lot of conflicting information about the virus,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Much of that can be attributed to the fact that COVID-19 has been far more unpredictable than many other viruses, and we’re learning more and more about it every day. Rather than get confused by all the conflicting information, people should just remember to do the three things that have been fairly consistent in controlling the spread of the virus. Wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask,” he said. “Until there are effective therapeutic treatments and a vaccine, these precautions are the best thing each of us can take to slow the spread.”




Kirksville, MO 7/10/2020 – A 50-year-old male is the latest Adair County resident to test positive for COVID-19 this year. The man’s infection is travel related.

Nine Adair County residents are in isolation and 96 residents have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has completed 689 contact-tracing calls to potentially infected persons.



Kirksville, MO 7/7/2020 – The Adair County Health Department reports four new cases of COVID-19 among residents today, bringing the year-to-date total to 104. Three of the cases, men ages 41, 57, and 69, are related to a church revival held in Macon, Missouri from June 28 through July 1. The fourth new case is a 24-year-old female infected by community spread.

“The cases stemming from the church revival in Macon illustrate the need for people to maintain social distance and wear masks if they attend group events,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Taking these precautions should reduce the spread of the virus among people who have gathered for any type of occasion,” he said.

There are currently 11 Adair County residents in isolation now and 93 who have left isolation.



Kirksville, MO 7/7/2020 – The Northeast Missouri Health Council and Adair County Health Department have partnered to bring two medical surge response shelters to northeast Missouri. Estimated delivery of the two shelters is September.

The mobile shelters are equipped with LED lighting, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units powered by fuel generators. They feature an aluminum framework covered with insulated vinyl and flooring and can be entirely enclosed or opened at each end for drive-through clinics. The disassembled units will be stored in an 18-foot enclosed trailer when not in use. Each unit requires four to six people to set them up at any location. The shelters are designed to withstand rain, snow, and high winds.

Ronald Stewart, planner for the Adair County Health Department, said the mobile shelters will be used for vaccine drive-through clinics and can be used to house people during weather emergencies, power outages, and other emergency events that force them from their homes. The units can also be fitted with beds to treat patients in the event hospitals are filled to capacity during the pandemic or during other major disasters.

“This is a turnkey operation,” Stewart said. “We will even receive a full day of training on setting up, taking down, and storing the shelters. Not only our staff will be trained, but staff from other health departments, emergency responders, and healthcare providers in the region will also be trained,” he said.

As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), the Northeast Missouri Health Council (NMHC) is eligible to receive federal emergency funds for COVID-19 initiatives.  The NMHC Board of Directors voted to invest the $128,000 in emergency funds to purchase the units.

“It was really a no-brainer for us to use one-time emergency funding that’s available to us as an FQHC to make this option available, when such funding is not available to the Adair County Health Department or any other entity in the region,” said Andy Grimm, chief executive officer of the Northeast Missouri Health Council. “The Health Department will store the units and coordinate their use with the Adair County Emergency Operations Command and with other county health departments and hospitals throughout northeast Missouri. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Grimm said.

“The purchase of these shelters by the Northeast Missouri Health Council is a big step toward having the resources we need to vaccinate residents for both influenza and for COVID-19 when that vaccine is available,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “The units offer an enclosed, temperature-controlled space that’s safe and comfortable for people driving through while protecting our staff and all of our community healthcare partners responding to COVID-19 and other potential public health emergencies,” he said. “It’s likely that the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in the dead of the northeast Missouri winter, so we need a place to administer the vaccine where it’s safe for residents and staff.”

NMHC has medical and dental clinics in Kirksville, Macon and Kahoka, and medical clinics in Edina and Milan, providing services throughout northeast Missouri.

Grimm said the sparser population spread throughout northeast Missouri as opposed to other areas of the state often puts the region at a disadvantage for funding and resources, but it’s the willingness of healthcare providers and health departments to work across county lines that ensures service to area residents, especially during times of public health emergencies and natural disasters.

“We all either come together and figure it out on our own or what needs to happen doesn’t,” Grimm said.



Kirksville, MO 7/6/2020 – A 23-year-old female is the 100th case of COVID-19 in Adair County since the beginning of the year. The woman’s infection is attributed to community spread. There are now seven people in isolation and 93 people who have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has completed 681 contact-tracing calls to date.



Kirksville, MO 7/2/2020 – As people kick off the Fourth of July holiday, the COVID-19 case count since January 1, 2020 for Adair County has reached 99. Seven people are in isolation and 92 have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has conducted more than 640 contact-tracing calls.

The four latest cases reported involve a 50-year-old male working at a meat-processing plant, a 34-year-old male whose case is travel-related, and a 21-year-old female and male whose infections are the result of community spread.

“Community spread is how we categorize a case when we don’t know how someone became infected with COVID-19,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Those are the cases we don’t want to have in our community because we can’t determine who transmitted the disease and therefore can’t get a complete picture in our contact-tracing efforts,” he said.

Contact tracing begins by talking to the person who has just tested positive to determine other people that person might have had close contact with. Those people might be encouraged to be tested and to monitor any symptoms, although many people are asymptomatic which means they never display known symptoms of COVID-19. People who have had close contact with the infected person are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days to reduce the chance of further transmission of the virus.

“As people leave their homes for the holiday weekend, it’s helpful to note what other people they have close contact with. If someone later tests positive, remembering who that person had close contact with will help with contact tracing,” LeBaron said.

LeBaron also reminds people who decided to venture outside their homes to take precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those precautions include maintaining a distance of six feet or more between you and anyone outside of your household, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available, and refraining from potluck and picnic-types of eating. The same social distancing rule applies when spending time at pools and beaches. You should maintain at least six feet between you and anyone who doesn’t live with you, and wear a face mask when you’re not in the water. Wearing masks is not advised for children under the age of two, people who have difficulty breathing, people who are unconscious or incapacitated, or for anyone unable to remove the mask without assistance.  The CDC guidelines for going out in public.

LeBaron said that some people in the community have been confused by differing case numbers reported by different entities on websites ranging from the CDC, Johns Hopkins University, media outlets, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Reporting entities such as testing labs are required to notify the local health department of any positive results for any of their residents,” LeBaron said. “We know that our numbers are as current as possible at all times. Even the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ website is often behind on reported numbers, because it takes time for them to update its website, and the website states there is a 72-hour delay in numbers because the Department needs to verify them before updating the site,” he said.

“It’s also helpful to know that our numbers are for Adair County residents only, no matter where they were tested. Even though many people are tested at clinics in Adair County, if they don’t live here, their numbers aren’t included in our case count,” LeBaron said. “All positive cases are included in the count of the county or municipality they reside in.”

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services features a “Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard” on its website. The dashboard provides detailed demographics for counties and municipalities.