Coronavirus task force designates Missouri as COVID-19 ‘red zone’

Courier-Tribune staff illustration

A report last week by a White House coronavirus task force added Missouri to more than 20 other states in the “red zone” for new COVID-19 cases and is urging state leaders to consider more restrictions in virus hot spots. States in the red zone had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 in population in a week span more than a week ago.

The report was made public Wednesday, July 29, as Missouri topped its single-day high for new cases for the 10th time in July. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported a daily record of 2,084 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, July 30. According to the state’s dashboard, between Sunday and Monday, Aug. 2 and 3, the state added 1,047 new cases. Over the past two weeks, the state has seen several daily increases of at least 1,000 cases.

State health officials also reported an increase in the percentage of positive tests, up to 9.6% from 8.6% one day prior last week. This week, as of Monday, that percentage was slightly down at 9.4% At the beginning of July, about 4% of tests were positive.

Some states and cities, including Chicago, are now requiring a 14-day self-quarantine for those who travel from Missouri as a result of case spikes in the state.

In Clay County Public Health Center’s reporting jurisdiction, which reports cases in Clay County residents outside city limits of Kansas City, the overall total of those who have tested positive since testing began was 809 with 40 probable cases and 22 deaths as of 4:30 p.m. Monday. In Kansas City residents in the county, 691 have tested positive and eight have died.

Of recent case reports, two have been identified in the Kearney School District in the past two weeks with an alert from the district sent last Thursday about a summer school teacher testing positive and another alert since Wednesday, July 29, about a student who attended one of two graduations last weekend testing positive.

This week, in Liberty, a staffer at the Liberty Community Center who had been giving swim lessons tested positive. Of positive cases in Clay County, the most cases have been reported in the 64068 zip code, which includes most of Liberty, with 342.

Of the total positives in CCPHC’s jurisdiction, 82 overall have been hospitalized with 26 still actively hospitalized.

According to Mid-American Regional Council, which serves the nine counties across Kansas and Missouri in the Kansas City metro area, the positivity rate in the metro continues to climb. It stood at 14% the week of July 27. Between July 19 and 25, MARC reported 2,614 new cases of virus in its nine-county region with 119 new hospitalizations.

“This is the third week we saw an increase in this data point. Our region’s goal is 5% positivity. A high positivity rate can signal that only the sickest people are being tested. The number of new hospitalizations declined from 147 to 119, but the region’s hospitals continue to see high volumes of non-COVID patients. The region’s average number of COVID-19 tests per day dropped from 3,509 to 2,692 last week. This is the third week we’ve seen a decrease in tests per day; our region’s goal per day is 3,150. The data also shows an increase in new deaths, rising from 14 to 21,” states a MARC weekly COVID-19 report.

In CCPHC’s jurisdiction, the active infection positivity rate has not again reached the highest level of positivity of 9.33% the county first saw when the pandemic struck in the spring, but the rate continues to climb from its lowest point of around 4.9% in May. As of Monday, the active infection positivity rate was 7.8% overall.

Of those tested at the county health center’s mobile testing at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, which is open to Clay County residents, the positivity rate climbed slightly from late last week’s 3.4% to 3.6%, which has remained relatively stable within 1% since mid-June. Of those being tested at the site, according to the CCPHC’s COVID-19 data hub at clayhealth.com, 50% of those tested were asymptomatic.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at 903-6001.