The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reported 545 new COVID-19 cases for Thursday. The dashboard reports that 86 of the new cases were between the ages of 18 and 22 on Thursday
Over 55% of the new cases (302) are under the age of 30 with the largest age group being 10-19 (117 cases).
There are currently 3,461 active cases in the county and 36,135 cases since the pandemic began.
The county reported 32,480 cases removed from isolation.
Boone County ranks fourth in the state with the most coronavirus cases in total volume in the past week and is first when sorted by cases per 100,000. Cases are up 29% when comparing last week to the prior week. The county has a 38.2% positivity test rate, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
The health department’s hospital status is yellow with 163 COVID-19 patients in Boone County hospitals and 14 of them being Boone County residents. Of the 163 patients, 35 are in intensive care and 21 are on ventilators.
The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports that 117,133 residents have received their first dose in Boone County and 103,647 Boone County residents have completed their vaccine doses.
Boone County has the third-largest percentage of county residents in Missouri that have received at least one dose of the vaccine with 64.9%. The largest county in the state is St. Louis County with 69.2%.
Boone County is third in the state with a reported 57.4% of residents that have completed their coronavirus vaccine doses. St. Louis County is the first county in the state with 60.9% of residents having completed the doses for vaccination. The city of Joplin has 61.6% of the population fully vaccinated.
Cole County has the second-highest first vaccination rate in Mid-Missouri with 54.9%. Callaway County is third with 50.9%.
The Columbia Public Schools reports active coronavirus and quarantine cases to their website daily.
The district reported a 319 14-day rate per 10,000 for Thursday. The highest the rate has been.
CPS reports 36 district facilities (19 elementary schools, all seven middle schools, three high schools and seven other district-wide facilities) currently have staff out because of COVID-19.
The district is reporting 94 coronavirus cases in staff across the district. The breakdown in staff shows 46 staff members at an elementary school, 19 staff members at middle schools, 22 staff members at high schools and seven staff members at district-wide facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. Four staff members at elementary school have to quarantine due to being in close contact.
The district reports 35 district facilities to have students currently out due to the coronavirus. The district is reporting 21 of the elementary schools, six of the seven middle schools, all four high schools and four district-wide facilities are affected.
There are 243 students that have tested positive for COVID-19. The district is reporting 108 students in elementary, 67 students in middle school, 58 students in high school and 10 students in a district-wide facility have tested positive for the coronavirus.
There are 72 students who are required to quarantine due to the coronavirus. The district reports 12 elementary students are currently quarantining, eight students in middle school, five students in high school and 47 students at district-wide facilities.
MU Health Care to require coronavirus booster shots for staff
MU Health Care said in an email to staff Thursday that it will require employees to get coronavirus booster shots at a time when cases are at record highs, citing the need to keep staff healthy to care for sick patients.
“Our existing COVID-19 vaccination requirement is expanding to include boosters or an approved medical or religious exemption for all eligible employees, students and providers who work, learn or practice medicine at University of Missouri Health Care and School of Medicine facilities by Tuesday, April 5,” MU Health executives wrote in the email.
Boosters of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available at least five months after the second shot. Boosters of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine are available after two months.
“Those failing to comply with the updated vaccination requirement or the appropriate exemption procedures will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination,” the executives wrote. “This approach is consistent with our longstanding policy requiring health care workers to be vaccinated against serious infectious diseases, such as influenza.”
MU Health Care has required employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus since October. A spokesman said that requirement resulted in only four terminations of full-time employees and 100% of faculty physicians and credentialed health providers complied.
“We are pleased that, across our organization, we achieved a high compliance rate with our initial vaccination requirement,” Richard J. Barohn, MD, executive vice chancellor for health affairs for the University of Missouri, said in a news release. “As the Omicron variant continues to spread and prevalence rates in Boone County and in our 25-county service area continue to climb, we are updating our policy to ensure we’re doing all we can to prevent disease and keep our workforce healthy and able to care for our community.”
MU Health Care, like other hospitals, has had to take steps such as moving staff to clinical areas and postponing elective procedures as it deals with the unprecedented strain caused by the omicron wave. The variant has led to record hospitalizations statewide, but fewer of those patients are landing in intensive care. It has also sickened great numbers of health care workers, creating staffing challenges similar to those seen in schools.
MU’s hospitals are treating 122 coronavirus patients, with 76 of them unvaccinated, according to MU Health Care’s coronavirus reporting website.
Health officials have been debating for weeks whether to change how they define being fully vaccinated as the omicron variant sickens greater numbers of the vaccinated. Many are pushing for the definition to include booster shots, which have been shown in studies to greatly boost protection against serious illness from omicron. About 45% of new cases in Missouri the week of Jan. 9 were in vaccinated people.
Cole County reports third day in a row of over 300 new coronavirus cases due to backlog reporting
The Cole County Health Department reported 374 new coronavirus cases Wednesday.
According to the dashboard update, there are 15,176 residential cases and 312 long-term care facility resident cases. That is 15,478 total cases in the county.
“Because of a reporting issue with a local healthcare system that resulted in a backlog of data, the Cole County Health Department anticipates receiving a large number of positive COVID-19 cases over the next few days from MO Department of Health and Senior Services. The positive cases date back to the first part of December,” said Kristi Campbell, director of Cole County Health Department, on Tuesday.
Cole County has reported 175 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began.
Cole County ranks fifth in the state for counties with the most coronavirus cases per 100,000 in the past week. Cases are up 10.1% when comparing last week to the prior week. The county has reported a 38.6% positivity test rate, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports about 54.9% of the county have initiated their first dose of the vaccine and 50.5% of the county’s population have been fully vaccinated.
The Jefferson City School District reported nine new coronavirus cases in students and four new coronavirus cases in staff members Wednesday.
The district is reporting 68 active cases in students and 28 active cases in staff.
The district is reporting 169 close contacts for students and 25 close contacts for staff.
State of Missouri nears one million confirmed COVID cases
The state of Missouri reported 16,599 new and probable coronavirus cases for Thursday.
The state of Missouri’s daily average of new coronavirus cases has gone back up to an 8,840 seven-day average (61,883 confirmed cases from the previous week of reporting) as the state reports new coronavirus cases across the state according to state health department reporting. The daily average looks at the last seven days and doesn’t account for the past three days, which will push that number even higher.
The state reported 12,333 new coronavirus cases through PCR testing and another 4,266 probable cases identified in antigen testing from Friday, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services coronavirus dashboard. Missouri has now reported 997,316 confirmed cases for the pandemic and more than 235,031 probable cases.
The state recorded 134 new deaths for 13,535 total and no new probable death was added for a total of 3,106.
Missouri’s new cases are down 2.7 % over the past week, the state reports, as recent cases surge nationwide.
The rate of positive tests is 34.9% for the last week. A higher positivity suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet.
Boone (1), Callaway (2), Cole, (5), Pettis (6), Miller (8), Saline (14), Osage (16) and Maries (38) counties are all in the top 40 Missouri counties in cases per capita over the last week, according to state statistics.
The state reports that 5.74% (a .53% increase from last) of vaccinated Missourians have developed COVID-19 infections. The state reported 18,021 breakthrough infections. The state is reporting 193,190 breakthrough cases out of 3,363,310 fully vaccinated people. The state has reported 995 breakthrough deaths.
Experts continue to tout vaccination as the best tool to fight the wave of new cases.
Still, new vaccinations have effectively stalled in Missouri, with more boosters being given daily than first or second shots. The state reported Thursday that 54.8% of Missouri residents are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are also trending upward, with the state reporting 20% of total inpatient capacity and 18% of ICU capacity remaining. Those numbers are at 29% and 34% in Central Missouri, respectively. The state has reported a record number of hospitalizations with 3,704 patients. There are currently 698 patients in Missouri ICUs.
Boone County creates system for reporting at-home coronavirus tests
Boone County health officials unveiled a new system for reporting at-home coronavirus test results Thursday.
The reporting system is available online at this link and was created in response to more people testing themselves at home as case counts surge, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release.
People without computer access can call 573-874-7634 to report their positive results and leave a voice mail with name, birthdate, race or ethnicity, address, phone number, email address and date of test, the department says.
“We appreciate the Boone County residents who have been proactive and already reached out to us to submit their positive at-home test results,” Director Stephanie Browning said in the release. “This new system will make reporting the results easier for residents and it will give us a better idea of how many people in Boone County are testing positive using at-home tests.”
Boone County leads the state in most new coronavirus cases per capita as the omicron-driven winter surge pushes on. New case totals have appeared to be dropping in the last few days but remain well above levels seen previously during the pandemic.
The county’s hospitals remain strained with 167 COVID-19 patients and scores of infected staff members. Schools are also struggling with a rash of new infections, with some districts bringing back mask mandates, canceling classes or moving online because of staff shortages.
Information about isolation for positive cases and quarantine for close contacts can be found here: CoMo.gov/coronavirus/positive-covid-19-tests.
Residents can order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government here: covidtests.gov.
Local testing options can be found here: CoMo.gov/coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-2019-covid-19.