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11/17/2021: COVID-19 Seven-Day Positivity Rate At 12%, Vaccination Rate Reaches 50%

Lindsey Grojean/KRCU

>>>Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:08 p.m.


Cape Girardeau County 

COVID-19 Cases


On Wed. Nov. 17th, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cape County increased by 90 to 10,557 from November 10th, according to the Cape Girardeau County Health Department. Since November 10th, probable cases increased by 58 to 3,039; and active cases increased by 26 to 163. The total number of resolved cases rose by 127 to 13,289. The total number of cases overall increased by 148 to 13,616.


A total of 164 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in Cape Girardeau County.


As of November 17th, a total of 927 PCR tests had been administered in Cape Girardeau County within a period of seven days.
More free area-wide COVID-19 tests continue to be scheduled throughout the state of Missouri. Participants will be required to register at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.
Face Covering Order 

On Aug. 13, after an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the region, as well as the more contagious Delta variant, the City of Cape Girardeau announced it was reinstating its masking policy in city-owned facilities, and "encouraging more distant and virtual options for service delivery where practical". The messaged on the City of Cape website also asked the public to "honor the rules put in place when on private property like businesses, households, and other public agencies".

Early in the year on Mar. 8, 2021, the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Board voted unanimously to rescind the Face Covering Order. 

Although the Face Covering Order was officially lifted, the Public Health Board continued to "strongly recommend" that face-coverings be worn by residents and visitors of Cape Girardeau County.

The initial order was put into effect on July 13, 2020, and amended on October 27, 2020 to include stipulations based on the county's COVID-19 case positivity rate dropping below 5% for a two-week period, and the new rolling case count staying below 200 for a two-week period.

The Board determined the first criteria had been met. This was based on the 14-day case count of new cases staying below 200 for a two-week period and the guidance of Medical Director Dr. John Russell.

The positivity rate was omitted because the Board felt it was no longer an accurate measure with the significant decrease in testing.

You can read the complete, and updated face-covering guidelines on the Cape Girardeau County Health Department website.

How to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.  
The cloth face coverings recommended in the Order are not surgical masks or respirators. Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 3 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

If any symptoms develop that are consistent with COVID-19, those individuals are asked to self-isolate immediately and contact a primary care physician to determine the need for testing.
Friday, June 12, the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Department issued a public health proclamation, in response to the lifting of statewide restrictions that have been in place during the COVID-19 outbreak, as announced by Governor Parson on June 11th. The public health emergency in Cape Girardeau County, as declared on March 27, 2020, remains in effect.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
Reported State and County Vaccine Data
As of Nov. 17, 2021 a total of 79,065 1st and 2nd COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Cape Girardeau County, by all vaccine providers according to the Missouri COVID Dashboard

52.9% of eligible Cape Girardeau County residents, 5 years-old and up, have received their first vaccine dose, and 48.2% have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Vaccine Information

Those who have already received the first Moderna Vaccine, should plan for a 28 day waiting period between the first and second shot, as stated in a recent press release by the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center. 
The announcement also mentions that those who are receiving the second shot will be contacted by email or phone for their first appointment and instructed on the scheduling process. 

These locations have provided COVID-19 vaccine wait lists and information: Saint Francis Hospital: sign-up list; Southeast Hospital: sign-up list; Broadway Pharmacy: sign-up list; Butler County Health Department: sign-up list; St. Francois County: information on vaccine.

On Tues. Dec. 15, the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center announced the approval to receive the Moderna COVID vaccine and have placed their order with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). 

In a recent press release, SoutheastHEALTH Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Matt Janzow, MD, said that the hospital was chosen as a pre-positioning site for the vaccine because of the wide geographic area which Southeast serves, which includes its central location in southeast Missouri and "[their] ongoing commitment to the good health of our community."
Janzow commented that "[they were] honored to be a part of this historic development in the fight against COVID-19."
Vaccinations for employees began during the week of Dec. 15th. SoutheastHEALTH expects to initially receive 2,925 doses of the Pfizer brand vaccine, which is a two-dose series given 21 days apart.
The announcement also stated that four other hospitals in Missouri were also named as pre-positioning sites. Those sites are at Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis, Mercy in Springfield, SSM St. Mary's in Jefferson City and Truman in Kansas City.

The Cape Girardeau County Health Center says it will follow the Missouri Vaccination 3-Phase plan and work with their local partners to vaccinate any Missouri resident who would like to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible. 

Credit showmestrong.mo.gov
Missouri COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

In Phase 1: Healthcare workers, essential workers, and high-risk populations will be given priority.

In Phase 2: Phase 1 individuals will continue to be vaccinated, as well as all Missouri residents as vaccine availability increases.

In Phase 3: COVID-19 vaccines should be available to all Missouri residents.

More information about the COVID vaccine and the Missouri distribution plan can be found here.

Missouri Vaccine Incentive Program

In July, 2021 Gov. Mike Parson announced the MO VIP incentive program. The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services formed a partnership with the Missouri Lottery to draw 180 winners in 5 randomized drawings who will win either $10,000 cash or $10,000 towards an education savings account. In total, the state will award 900 individuals throughout the incentive program.

“These Missourians are winners not only because they are receiving $10,000 but because, like 3.2 million other Missourians, they have stepped up to help protect themselves and those they care for from serious illness,” Governor Parson said.

On Aug. 27, the first drawing winners were announced after receiving 566,151 entries. Of the 180 winners randomly selected in the second of the program’s five drawings, 177 have been fully verified. The next drawing will take place on Sept. 10th, 2021.

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Southeast Missouri Counties

Total recorded cases in the region widely vary. Scott county reports 6,038 cases, with 120 deaths; Perry county has 3,172 cases and 33 deaths; Stoddard county reports 3,760 cases with 74 deaths; Bollinger county reports 1,642 with 22 deaths; Ste. Genevieve county has 2,238 cases, with 29 deaths. St. Francois county reported a total of 10,508 cases--one of the highest counts outside of the Southeast Region. A total of 179individuals haved died as a result of COVID-19 related complications. Mississippi county has 2,038 cases, with 45 deaths; New Madrid county has 2,908 cases with 57 deaths; Butler county reports 5,320 cases, with 72 deaths; Carter county has 643 and 14 deaths; Ripley county has 1,233 cases, and 25 deaths; and Wayne county reports 1,248 with 18 deaths. 

Southeast Correctional Center COVID-19 Update

The Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, MO reports one active case among inmates. 271 inmates have recovered from the virus. One active case was reported.
131 prison staff members have recovered. According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, everyone who has had close contact with a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19, has been notified.

The State of Missouri Issues a Public Health Warning for COVID-19

On Nov. 19, 2020, Gov. Mike Parson, along with the then-acting Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director, Dr. Randall Williams, issued a Public Health Warning for the State of Missouri. The statement warned about slowing the spread of the virus.

"If we do not slow the spread of the virus, we risk having our health care systems overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. This poses a significant risk not only to those suffering from COVID-19, our first responders, and those working in our healthcare systems, but to anyone requiring health care support. This includes people requiring emergency services and ICU access from car accidents to treatment of serious health conditions such as cancer."

The statement also addressed the approach to the virus moving forward. "We will continue to take a balanced approach to Missouri’s COVID-19 response. Our approach is data-driven and based upon the most recent research. We have learned much since the start of the pandemic about how to live and work responsibly in the COVID-19 environment. Until a vaccine is made available to the general population in 2021, the most effective weapon against COVID-19 remains prevention."

The warning stated that "we do not need to lockdown our communities if people do the right things to fight the spread of the virus."

It also laid out the guidelines for the public health warning, which included advisories for personal behavior, businesses, travel, and local government.

Action plans were divided by advised county response.

On Friday, August 28th Gov. Parson terminated Executive Order 20-02 ending the State of Emergency that had been in effect since March 13, 2020, announcing the new Executive Order 21-09.

Executive Order 21-09, which represents a more targeted State of Emergency declaration that acknowledges the continued needs of Missouri's health care system. While Missouri's economy has improved, the health care system is still experiencing strain due to current staffing shortages being exacerbated by COVID-19.

Executive Order 21-09 invokes the Governor's emergency powers to activate the Missouri National Guard for continued mission support in recovery operations, if needed. The order also keeps in place provisions related to remote notary services and telehealth, and it allows state agencies to request waiver of certain statutory and regulatory requirements that would otherwise hinder the state's response to ongoing COVID-19 challenges.

Descriptions of each Category

Under Category 1, or 'extreme risk', there is a PCR 7-day positivity  rate of 15% or above, and a 7 day case rate per 100k of 350 people or above. It advises occupany limits relective of social distancing for businesses, and social groups of 10 or less. Masks are "strongly advised in all offices and businesses where social distancing is not possible".

Category 2 is defined as 'critical risk': a PCR 7-day positivity rate of 10-14%, and a 7 day case rate per 100k of 110-349 individuals. It advises occupancy limits reflective of social distancing for businesses and social distancing, and social groups of 25 or less. Masks are "advised in all offices and businesses with 10 [or more] people where social distancing is not possible".

Category 3 is defined as 'serious risk': a PCR 7-day positivity rate of 5-9% and a 7 day case rate per 100k of 10-99 individuals. There are no occupancy limits for businesses recommended. Social group size is limited to maintaining 6 feet of distance. Masks are "advised in all offices and businesses with 10 [or more] people where social distancing is not possible".

Credit MO DHSS; Center For Disease Control
CDC COVID-19 Case Definitions

You can read the entire Public Health Warning for the State of Missouri here.

To date, 718,642 total COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Missouri; as of November 14th--984 individuals were hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 12,423 deaths are attributed to the virus. 7,688,174 total tests have been processed for the virus statewide, using the PCR method, according to the most recent data from Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as of November 17th, at 5:30 p.m.

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