By Mark Evans
St. Genevieve County had six new COVID-19 cases, giving it a total of 233, Jeanette Wood, provisional Health Department administrator informed the County Commission last Thursday.
There were 23 active cases and 11 more that were probable.
She reiterated that the active cases are in isolation and are contacted by Health Department nurses every day.
HERD IMMUNITY IS DEFINED
Wood also brought up the idea of herd immunity, which the commissioners had asked about at a previous meeting.
“If you get on the Mayo Clinic website, they have a very good page on herd immunity,” Wood said. “When I first heard of herd immunity, you know what I thought of? A herd of cattle. But what it is, a large portion of the community becomes immune. The disease spreads from person to person, so the whole community may become protected. Here is the issue, though: In that herd are elderly or people with comorbidity, with diabetes, heart disease etc. You end up having gaps from that [immunity].”
Wood recalled how young children were sent to play with friends who had chicken pox or measles, to “get it over with,” and develop immunity in past generations.
She said there are questions about how long immunity lasts for those who have had COVID-19. The novel virus is new and, “They’re learning something new about it every day,” she said.
She also noted that another problem with relying on herd immunity is that, if a large percentage of a local population does become infected at one time, that can overwhelm health care systems.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson asked whether recommendations were actually being made to catch the virus “and get it over with.”
“I think that maybe some people would think that,” Wood said. “Do I think that? No.”
LOOKING AT COVID NUMBERS
Nelson said he didn’t feel the grand total (233) should be focused upon.
“March, April, May, June, July, August, that’s done,” he said. “What I want to look at harder is the 23. If that 23 were doubled by this time next week, we’ve got to do something. But, if it’s just going to be two or three at a time … you’re going to get this [under control]. If these numbers double or triple in a week, we’ve got trouble.”
Wood reminded him of what she had said during an August spike. People had decided to take vacations before the summer ended (and with the virus somewhat in check), plus the big Memorial Day weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks, people going back to work and other instances of people becoming more socially active had precipitated that late summer spike.
Nelson said he feels 23 active cases reflects well on the county.
“It’s not a good thing,” he said, but we’re doing a lot better than the surrounding counties.”
Wood said she didn’t think any of the 23 active cases were hospitalized.