COVID Figures Keep Rising

By Mark Evans

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With 110 active COVID-19 cases leaping, Ste. Genevieve has been elevated to  a “Hot Spot-Red,” on provisional health department administrator Jeanette Wood’s words to the county commissioners last Thursday. It had also been mentioned on St. Louis newscasts.

She reported that there were 110 active cases as of Tuesday, giving the county 764 since March. By Friday morning, the county’s numbers had changed to 823 total cases, but only 71 active ones – plus 20 probable ones.

Wood also reported that 160 people took COVID tests on Nov. 11 and that within two to seven days those results should be back.

“That will probably spike the numbers,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said.

Missouri, as of Friday, had suffered 26,228 new cases in the previous seven days, along with 66 new deaths.

Depending on whether the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the state of Missouri guidelines for calculating “positivity,” the positivity rate was either 23.9 percent or 2.7 percent.

There were 2,328 COVID patients hospitalized.

Wood also mentioned a public forum scheduled for Nov. 17 on whether a local face mask mandate should be adopted.

“I’m anxious to see what kind of a turnout it has,” Wood said.

Nelson predicted that there would be “two groups there,” one passionately in favor of masks and one staunchly opposed. He suggested that sheriff’s department personnel should be on hand.

“There are no answers,” Nelson said. “We’ve never seen this before.”

Many county health departments have been overwhelmed by the pandemic. Nelson asked Wood if there was a solution

“Do families, do individuals have to be more vigilant, themselves, and write down names?” he asked, adding, “We’d offer to help, but we don’t know what to do.”

“Wear a mask,” Wood said. “And, if you see people out and about that don’t have a mask on [remind them] … None of us really wants to do that because some people are going to give us a bunch of lip.”

Nelson said there are still issues of stores in which employees were not wearing masks.

Nelson also told Wood that he may have to touch base with her concerning some of the federal Caronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act money he has passed on to her, as auditors go over it.

“It’s just a formality,” he said. “Everything is legal. Ivan has approved it, we’ve approved it, the treasurer’s office has  approved it, but the auditors had some questions. When I get those questions, I will call you.”

He stressed that the county has been doubly careful in dispensing any of the $2,099,000 the county received, running each possible use past attorney Ivan Schraeder.