Note: Updated on July 11, 2020 to reflect the latest data:
- Macon +167%
- Reynolds +100%
- Douglas +71%
- Carroll +44%
- Randolph +31%
- Christian +30%
- Gasconade +25%
- Henry +25%
- Caldwell +25%
- Cooper +22%
We realize the actual number of positive cases in those counties may be low because they are rural, but for every person who’s infected, the CDC says they can infect 2 more. And those 2 can infect 2 more. And so on. People vacationing in those areas will bring this virus back to their more populated areas. This is like a wildfire burning out of control, and there’s no statewide coordination to put the flames out. Essentially, every county is on its own, and that’s a scary thought.
Until recently, many residents thought COVID-19 was something they didn’t have to worry about. They thought they were safe because they live in the country. However, it looks like COVID-19 has introduced itself to rural Missouri. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, these are the top 10 counties showing the greatest percentage increases in positive COVID-19 cases over the past 7 days:
- Shannon +125%
- Wright +53%
- Maries +50%
- Vernon +50%
- Cooper +43%
- Barry +38
- Laclede +38%
- Morgan +36
- Webster +35%
- Carroll +33%
The Importance of Contact Tracing
Medical experts will tell you that once someone has tested positive for COVID-19, it’s important to identify where the person has been and who they’ve been in contact with. The quicker we can alert those who have been exposed, we can ask those people to self-quarantine for 14 days. This greatly reduces the chance of the virus spreading to even more people. That’s why contact tracers are so important.
Contact tracers reach out to those who have been exposed. They educate them with the facts. They strongly encourage them to remain at home during the infectious period. If needed, they can help the person brainstorm for resources such as prescription refills, groceries, and other necessities.
Contact tracing can help tremendously in fighting the spread of COVID-19. Without this important tool, we have no way of offering a heads up to those who have been exposed. Those people continue to interact with others in grocery stores, restaurants, protests, birthday parties, and the like. The virus is allowed to run rampant and will continue to spread like a wildfire out of control.
No Coordinated Contact Tracing in Rural Missouri
Want to know how many contact tracers we have in the Show-Me State? You’ll need to call every county’s health department — all 114 of them. We have no statewide coordinated contact tracing in Missouri. Without knowing how many contact tracers there are in each area, it’s impossible for state officials to work with county and local governments to ensure they receive the resources that they need. Essentially, it’s every county for itself.
That’s not sustainable. A statewide problem requires statewide coordination. And it needs to happen quickly.
OneMissouri is committed to research, education, advocacy, and policy development on behalf of all Missourians.
Top Graphic Credit: Tricare