June 30, 2020

Kirksville, MO 6/30/2020 – The total COVID-19 year-to-date case count in Adair County stands at 95 as of today. Only six people are in isolation and 89 have left isolation. The last three cases involve a 22-year-old male infected by community spread, a 51-year-old male employee of an area meat-processing plant, and a 26-year-old male whose case is related to recent travel. As the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is forecasting a spike in COVID-related deaths nationwide by July 18, 2020. Missouri is among the 13 states the CDC believes will see more deaths in the next four weeks than occurred during the past four weeks.

“We have been lucky in Adair County so far,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Cases in much of Missouri are rising, and the CDC thinks it’s going to get even worse with the Fourth of July weekend upon us. We’re moving in the wrong direction right now,” he said.

To date, Adair County has had no COVID-related deaths and only three people have been hospitalized, none of whom required a ventilator.

“The Fourth of July holiday has typically been a time of gathering with family and friends and there’s a temptation to just celebrate as usual. But people really need to rethink how they celebrate this year,” LeBaron said. “There might be people traveling to Adair County who bring the virus with them, and there might be people who live here who travel outside of the county who might then bring the virus back with them,” he said. “Everyone needs to take precautions to help keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum here. We’ve been doing a good job so far.”

The CDC website offers recommendations for safely navigating being out in public. Among the recommendations are maintaining social distance of six feet or more, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently or using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available.

“The research has shown that being outside is better than being inside. Maintaining social distance is better than close contact. Brief contact is better than extended contact. And wearing a mask helps control the spread of the virus,” LeBaron said. “Of course, staying home with household members is the best way to celebrate. But if you think you have to gather with other people, just be smart about it and take the recommended precautions. Above all, if you don’t feel well, stay at home,” he said.

The CDC also recommends avoiding shared food and drinks at gatherings that involve anyone outside of your household, so family reunion-style picnics should be replaced by people bringing their own food and drinks to consume.

“Keep in mind that taking the recommended precautions doesn’t just benefit you. They protect others whose age and health issues might make the virus more severe if not deadly for them,” LeBaron said. “Maybe having the entire family gather at grandma’s house this year isn’t the safest thing for grandma. But if you do, make sure you wear a mask to protect her, keep your distance, and give her an option other than communal food,” he said. “When you’re deciding what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go, think about other people as well as yourself.”

The CDC guidelines for going out in public


How Covid-19 Can Spread in Community Video

Kirksville, MO 6/22/2020 – The number of Adair County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the year has reached 92. A 25-year-old female has been infected by community spread. The other five cases, a 26-year-old and a 40-year-old female, and a 24-year-old, 38-year-old, and 52-year-old male, are related to area meat-processing plants. The Adair County Health Department reports that 16 people are now in isolation and 76 people have left isolation. Health Department staff have conducted 520 contact-tracing interviews.



Kirksville, MO 6/18/2020 – The Adair County Health Department has published a brief, three-question survey on its website and on its Facebook page for county residents. The survey, which takes seconds to complete, asks how many people live in their residence, how many of those plan to get the seasonal influenza vaccine at the October 14, 2020 drive-through clinic, and how many plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available this winter.

“Drive-through vaccination clinics take a lot of planning and coordination and a lot of staffing – many more people than just our Health Department staff,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “If we can anticipate the demand for these clinics among our residents, we can do a much better job preparing for them. That’s why we’re asking one resident from every household in Adair County to take a minute to complete this brief survey,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 and older get the annual seasonal influenza vaccine. Although the ‘flu vaccine does not protect people against COVID-19, it has other benefits, such as warding off the 2020-2021 seasonal ‘flu which could strain not only your health but healthcare resources in general.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19; however, it is anticipated that effective vaccines will be ready by the end of the year. As production of a vaccine is ramped up for mass distribution, healthcare and other essential workers, as well as vulnerable populations, will probably be among the first to be administered the vaccine. Those guidelines will be developed by the CDC and other healthcare organizations when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

“With so many unknowns at this time about a COVID-19 vaccine, comprehensive planning efforts are critical to being able to get it distributed quickly and efficiently when it does become available,” LeBaron said. “We need your help and input through this survey to do the best planning possible. Thanks for taking the time to provide your input,” he said.



Kirksville, MO 6/17/2020 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published guidelines for people re-emerging from shelter-in-place orders. The guidelines are intended to help people stay safe as restrictions are lifted, bearing in mind that cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in Adair County and across the country and there is still no vaccine.

Although there’s no sure-fire way to be protected except for remaining at home with no contact with other people, the CDC has now offered information to help people who want to venture back into public spaces make wise decisions about doing that as safely as possible. There is no single, straightforward recommendation. Instead, the CDC advises people to consider four basic areas, including distance, environment, activity, and time, and the increased or decreased risk of transmission with those four alone and in combination with one another.

There has now been time for researchers to study data related to people who have had COVID-19 and how the virus was transmitted to them. What those studies have shown in aggregate is that maintaining a safe distance from other people outside of your household is safer than not and that distance depends on the type of activity you’re engaged in.

For example, if people are singing, they’re throwing more droplets into the air which increases the likelihood of transmission over people who are speaking normally. Avoiding large gatherings is safer. Being outdoors is generally safer than being indoors because droplets fall to the ground more quickly outdoors than indoors, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces. Exposure to virus transmission is heightened the longer you have close contact with other people, meaning there’s less than six feet between you. And close contact lasting less than 15 minutes with others decreases the likelihood of transmission.

What this means is that even if you’re outside rather than inside for a wedding, you should still maintain social distancing, limit close contact with anyone outside of your household, and wear a mask. Taking a walk outdoors with a friend is better than being inside at a gym, but if you’re not wearing masks, you should maintain more than six feet of distance because breathing harder expels more droplets into the air which travel greater distances than occurs with normal breathing. Or, someone who works in a grocery store is more likely to be infected with the virus than those who visit the store because the employee is there for hours, unlike the customer who enters and leaves within minutes.

As people return to public spaces, the CDC recommends that people wear masks, especially when social distancing is difficult or impossible to maintain. The CDC also recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching items such as groceries, gas nozzles, menus, and door handles, and to avoid touching your face unless you’ve washed your hands. If soap and water aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and if you have to blow your nose, wash or sanitize your hands immediately after disposing of the tissue in the trash.

The CDC warns that many people are infected with COVID-19 but don’t know it because they have no symptoms. Everyone should assume they’re infected and take precautions to not spread the virus to anyone else when in public.

Foremost in its recommendations, the CDC states that if you don’t feel well, stay home and away from other people. And if you are age 65 or older or if you suffer from other health conditions that have proven to make people particularly vulnerable to more serious cases of COVID-19, including moderate to severe asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, and any condition that renders you with a compromised immune system, you should avoid public places. If you have to go out, do so with extreme caution.

To read current CDC guidelines and recommendations about returning to public spaces.

Since January 1, 2020, Adair County has had 87 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 23 people are in isolation and 64 people have left isolation. The Adair County Health Department has contacted more than 507 people in its contact-tracing efforts. The latest reported case involves a 38-year-old male who works in an area meat-processing plant.




Kirksville, MO 6/15/2020 – A 27-year-old male employee of an area meat-processing plant and a 78-year-old male are the latest Adair County residents to test positive for COVID-19. Eighty-six residents have tested positive since the beginning of the year. Twenty-three people are now in isolation and 63 have left isolation.

The 78-year old’s infection is the result of community spread. Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department, said that with the reopening of the local economy, community spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus is inevitable.

“With community spread, we don’t know for certain how the virus was transmitted to an individual,” LeBaron said. “The only thing people can do to minimize this type of spread is to continue taking precautions. That means not leaving the house if you feel ill. It means washing your hands and disinfecting frequently used surfaces and objects like your cell phone. It means putting at least six feet between you and other people and wearing a mask when keeping that distance is difficult. And it means avoiding large crowds of people,” he said.

Statewide, in one week, the number of positive cases rose by 1,430 and the number of deaths rose by 70. In Adair County, the number of cases has increased by nine in one week.

“The virus is still out there, infecting people and killing people,” LeBaron said. “We’re fortunate that we have not had a death resulting from COVID-19 in Adair County, and I hope we can keep it that way. But slowing the spread means that each and every resident of the county has to continue to be vigilant and take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We can’t let up until we have effective treatments and vaccines. If we do, a lot more people are going to suffer the consequences of this virus,” he said.

“We’ve done fairly well in Adair County so far and I know people are weary of taking precautions, but it’s what we have to do for the foreseeable future. I hope everyone will keep up the good work.”




Kirksville, MO 6/12/2020 – The number of COVID-19 cases among Adair County residents continue to rise. One week ago, the Adair County Health Department reported 72 cases year to date. One week later, the total case count stands at 84. Five new cases were reported on Monday. Since then, the Health Department has been notified of seven additional cases. Four of those cases are related to area meat-processing plants. Three, involving a 19-year-old male, a 19-year-old female, and a 71-year-old female, resulted from community spread. “Community spread” means how those individuals were infected with the virus is undetermined.

“Although the Governor has decided to ease restrictions throughout the State as of next Tuesday, Adair County continues to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases,” said Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department. “Despite easing of restrictions, people need to continue taking precautions of washing their hands, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks in public when distancing is difficult,” LeBaron said.

LeBaron said the continued spread in Adair County isn’t just a problem for residents who work in area meat-processing plants. The community spread indicates the virus is circulating outside of those plants and infecting people randomly.

“People need to continue to be cautious,” LeBaron said. “Despite the reopening of the economy, nothing has changed since we all were ordered to shelter in place. There is still no proven treatment and still no vaccine and until there is, it’s the responsibility of every single person to take steps to protect themselves and others from spreading the virus,” he said. “This virus doesn’t care about the economy. It’s up to each of us to protect the most vulnerable people around us.”

As of today, 21 Adair County residents are in isolation and 63 have left isolation after testing positive for the virus.




Kirksville, MO 6/9/2020 – Another seven Adair County residents who previously tested positive for COVID-19 have left isolation as of today. Fifty-eight out of 77 people have now recovered. Nineteen residents remain in isolation.

As of today, 1,919 tests have been administered in Adair County with 1,715 negatives and 119 positives. The 119 positives include people who live outside of Adair County and people who received follow-up testing after testing positive. The Adair County Health Department is awaiting results for 85 people who have been tested.




Kirksville, MO 6/8/2020 – The Adair County Health Department reports that a 52-year-old female resident has tested positive for COVID-19 as the result of community spread. Four males related to area meat-processing plants, a 19-, 34-, 44- and 59-year-old, have also tested positive which brings Adair County’s total case count to 77 year to date. Twenty-six individuals are currently in isolation. Another six people have left isolation which brings that total to 51.



Kirksville, MO 6/5/2020 – A 38-year-old male Adair County resident who works at an area meat-processing plant has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county’s year-to-date total to 72. Twenty-seven individuals are currently in isolation. Three more people have left isolation since yesterday’s report, bringing that total up to 45. Adair County Health Department staff have now completed nearly 430 contact-tracing interviews.



Kirksville, MO 6/4/2020 – Confirmation of six more positive cases of COVID-19 among Adair County residents put the total number of cases since January 1 at 71. There are now 29 people in isolation and 42 individuals who have left isolation.

Four of the six new cases, two 33-year-old females, a 31-year-old male and a 46-year-old male, are related to are meat-processing plants. The other two cases, a 21-year-old female and a 23-year-old female, are the result of community spread, meaning the source of their infections is undetermined.

The Adair County Health Department continues contact-tracing efforts. To date, staff have contacted and interviewed 421 people who had close contact with one or more of the people who have tested positive.

Also as of today, 1,722 people have been tested for COVID-19 at various sites in Adair County. There have been 1,494 negative results, 96 positives, and 132 results pending. The 96 positives include retesting of people who tested positive previously, as well as testing of individuals who reside outside of Adair County.



Kirksville, MO 6/3/2020 – Three additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Adair County residents today brings the total case count year to date to 65. Two of the cases, a 30-year-old male and a 33-year-old female, are related to area meat-processing plants. The third case involves a 56-year-old male Adair County farmer. There are now 23 people in isolation and 42 individuals have left isolation. The Health Department has completed 399 contacts with individuals who might have been in close contact with the 65 positive individuals.

As the state’s economy continues to open, Jim LeBaron, administrator of the Adair County Health Department, reminds residents to continue taking precautions.

“If you feel ill, stay at home and call your doctor or healthcare provider,” LeBaron said. “If you want to attend any type of gathering in excess of 10 people, use common sense by maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask if maintaining six feet or more between you and other people is impossible. Remember that anyone, whether they have symptoms of the virus or not, can be infectious,” he said. “Just act like you have the virus and take steps to protect others around you at all times.”

In addition to these precautions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends coughing or sneezing into your elbow, frequent handwashing with soap and water, and to avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose and eyes.



Kirksville, MO 6/1/2020 – Positive results for nine more Adair County residents have been reported since last Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 62. All nine of the new positives, five males and four females, are related to area meat-processing plants.

Although the number of positive cases year to date rose dramatically over the weekend, so did the number of people who have now left isolation. Thirty-three of the confirmed cases are out of isolation, up from 15 as of Friday. Twenty-nine people are currently in isolation.

Also good news is that to date, there have been no COVID-related deaths in Adair County and only three people have needed to be hospitalized. None of the three residents required a ventilator and all were discharged to their homes.

The Adair County Health Department continues to focus on contact-tracing efforts to mitigate transmission to other county residents. In addition to delivering all of its routine public health services, staff have contacted more than 350 people who might have had close contact with the 62 positive individuals year to date.