Barry County’s cases plateau

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Officials hoping to see decrease in coming weeks

The number of new COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases each week in Barry County is beginning to plateau, and county officials are hoping for them to begin to fall in coming weeks.

According the Barry County Health Department and Barry County Office of Emergency Management, there have been 256 (+24) confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, including one presumptive and three antibody positives. As of Aug. 11, a total of 33 (-3 from Aug. 4) people were considered active cases in isolation and two are hospitalized (+1). There are 104 close contacts (-35) quarantined in their homes.

The county has seen four deaths. A 77-year-old man a 67-year-old man, both of whom had underlying health conditions, and a 71-year-old woman with serious underlying health conditions all died from complications involving a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. A fourth death was reported Tuesday morning, and details are still being gathered.

The death rate in Barry County went up in the last week from 0.9 percent to 1.2 percent, and the survival rate is 98.8 percent.

A total of 219 people had recovered from the virus, a gain of 25 since Aug. 4, up 1 from the previous week.

David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management Office director, said the latest numbers are showing a plateau of cases in the county.

“I would say we are holding steady right now,” he said. “Some of those people from a couple weeks ago are still finishing their isolation or quarantine, so we are holding steady or maybe seeing a slight improvement.”

Compton said the downside in recent weeks has been the deaths.

“We are hoping that, too, will level off,” he said.

Roger Brock, Barry County Health Department administrator, said in a meeting with school superintendents on Aug. 3 that the CDC had been in the county three or four weeks prior and predicted cases would peak in mid-August.

“They said we would see things stay level for a week or two, then start to see a decrease, and it looks like we are in that plateau phase,” Compton said. “However, we do think as fall activities start up, we will see more cases. We are also doing more testing now, because you can get a test by having any COVID symptoms instead of the old requirement of having two.”

A total of 5,598 Barry County residents have been tested, equating to 15.6 percent of the county’s population. The 256 positives account for 0.7 percent of the county’s population and a positive test rate of 4.6 percent.

Compton said this rate is what the county is closely tracking.

“On July 1, our positive test rate was about 2.4 percent,” he said. “So, it has gone up quite a bit since then, and our goal is to see that decrease. We are still under the state’s positive test rate of 7.5 percent, but we are below the national rate of 3.4 percent. The national rate was up around 10 percent, but and more testing availability, it has dropped.”

According to Johns Hopkins University tracking, statewide as of Aug. 11, Missouri has had 57,599 confirmed cases and 1,307 deaths, a death rate of 2.3 percent (97.7 percent survival rate), down 0.2 percent from last week. Nationally, there have been 5,097,164 positives and 163,505 deaths, a rate of 3.2 percent (96.8 percent survival rate), down 0.1 percent from last week. Additionally, 1,670,755 have recovered nationally. State recovery figures are not provided.

The majority of the Barry County cases are still in younger residents. People under 25 account for 77 cases (30 percent, -1 from Aug. 4), those 25-40 account for 62 cases (24 percent, -1 from Aug. 4), those 41-60 account for 62 cases (24 percent, +2 from Aug. 4) and those 61-and-over account for 55 cases (22 percent, even from Aug. 4).

Gender-wise, cases among females went this week from 122 to 136, while male cases rose from 108 to 120.

Community spread continues to be the leading cause with 244 attributable cases, and the other 12 (+2) are attributed to travel. Multiple area businesses have had employees with cases. As of Aug. 4, they included:

• George’s Processing Plant, 13 cases (2 new)

• Bentonview Park Health and Rehabilitation, 29 cases (1 new)

• Lai Lai Asian Buffet and Dining, 3 cases (no new)

• PlayPower, 2 cases, 1 Barry County resident (no new)

• EFCO, 10 cases (2 new)

• Walmart (Monett), 1 case (no new)

• Lowe’s (Monett), 1 case (no new)

• Lacoba Homes, 40 cases (no new)

• Tyson, 5 cases (1 new)

• Cricket Wireless, 1 case (no new)

• God’s Little Kingdom Preschool, 4 cases (no new)

• International Dehydrated Foods, 6 cases (no new)

• Regal Beloit, 1 case (no new)

• Acambaro Mexican Restaurant (1 new)

As of Aug. 4, counties bordering Barry County report the following cases: Lawrence, 230; Stone, 136; McDonald, 951; Newton, 874; Benton (Ark.), 4,794; and Carroll (Ark.), 359.

Unemployment in Barry County, the most recent data available for which is from June, is down from 10 percent to 9.2 percent. The rate is up from 4.3 percent in February.

The 10 percent rate is the highest unemployment for the county in 12 years, which is the extent of the state’s online record-keeping. In May 2019, the county had a 2.9 percent unemployment rate.

Google user data shows hikes in retail and recreation climbed to 44 percent above the baseline the week of July 3. The week of July 10 came in at 11 percent above the baseline, and the week of July 17 shows 12 percent above the baseline. The week of July 25 showed equal to the baseline, and July 31 was 13 percent above the baseline. The most recent week, Aug. 7, was up 15 percent.

Grocery and pharmacy shopping continues to be above the baseline, only below 10 percent higher the week of June 27. It was up 20 percent the week of July 17, 16 percent the week of July 25 and 19 percent the weeks of July 31 and Aug. 7.

Workplace mobility was down for weeks before it went to 7 percent above the baseline the week of June 27. It then fell to down 42 percent below the baseline the week of July 3 and 23 percent below on the weeks of July 10 and July 17. For the week of July 25, it fell to only 8 percent below the baseline. Then, in the weeks of July 31 and Aug. 7, it went back up to 22 percent and 23 percent below the baseline.

Residential mobility had held steady at 3 percent since the week of July 3, dropping to 2 percent above the baseline the week of Aug. 7.

COVID-19 can appear 2-14 days after exposure, and symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or a new loss of taste or smell.

Anyone who believes they have symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home, call a medical provider and wear a mask when near anyone who does not live in the same home.

For more information about COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus, call the Barry County Health Department at 417-847-2114 or the Missouri DHSS 24 hour hotline number at 877-435-8411.

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