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For more news about the COVID-19 coronavirus, access the News Tribune Health section.

A California nursing home confirmed Friday that two of its residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Two of Valley Park West Retirement Living Center's 24 residents tested positive for COVID-19, after a staff member also tested positive 10 days ago.

The employee was advised to cease coming to work immediately, and all of Valley Park West's residents were isolated in their rooms. One resident who has the virus remains hospitalized, while the other remains at the facility.

Eight other residents were being tested Friday, Valley Park West owner Tom Hoeferlin said.

Hoeferlin said the facility has tried to quickly observe proper public health guidance to avoid additional spread among residents, including designating only certain staff using proper personal protective equipment to help care for COVID-19 patients.  The facility also has pivoted to serving residents with all paper products to avoid cross-contamination.

Though the number of active COVID-19 cases in Moniteau County has decreased to 46, the county's confirmed case count has climbed to 37, along with 13 probable cases, as of Thursday eveningcheck for update later Friday. Four people in the county have recovered from the virus, according to information released by the Moniteau County Health Center.

The recent spike in cases is largely due to an outbreak among employees at Burgers' Smokehouse, where more than 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the Moniteau County Health Center confirmed earlier this week. The California plant suspended its operations Wednesday, with plans to reopen April 30.

Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that rapid testing is in the works at the California plant and in Saline County, where meat processing plants owned by Cargill and ConAgra Brands have seen employees test positive.

Machines for rapid testing are tabbed to arrive in Moniteau County next week, with hopes to have testing also take place at workers' homes to identify further spread.

Moniteau County environmental specialist Darrell Hendrickson said a decision has yet to be made at the county level regarding an extended stay-home order beyond the May 3 end date of the statewide order.

"We're going to do some more testing and other things just to see how bad we have it. Basically, we have to do some more assessment to see what's going on," Hendrickson said.

The Moniteau County Health Center is working to distribute masks sourced from community donations. People who need a cloth mask, can request one online.

The Health Center encourages citizens to continue to practice basic preventive measures to help decrease the spread of the coronavirus. These measures, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include wearing a cloth mask when in public, social distancing at least 6 feet apart, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, proper hand-washing, cleaning frequently used surfaces, and staying home when sick.

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