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Moniteau County's coronavirus struggles continue into the month of November, as another two deaths due to COVID-19 were added to the tally in the last week and the steep rise in active cases continues.

The two deaths in the past week — one last Tuesday afternoon, a resident in their 70s, and another last Thursday, who was in their 60s — were the 11th and 12th deaths due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. In its last release reporting a COVID-19 death, the Moniteau County Health Center noted the county had experienced seven deaths due to COVID-19 in just the past two week period.

The rate of deaths is not the only figure that has seen a drastic increase in Moniteau County as of late. In the past week, the total cases reported at press time have increased from 710 to 845. Of the now more than 800 cases, 124 are active and seven are hospitalized.

The month of October alone accounted for roughly half of the county's current total case count, with 405 cases added just in the period of Oct. 1-30. The two largest counts of new cases in a single-week period so far came in consecutive weeks during the last two weeks of October, when 141 and 115 new cases were reported.

Moniteau County now has, by far, the highest number of total cases compared to population, per 10,000 residents, among a group of 13 Mid-Missouri counties.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will host a free drive-thru COVID-19 community testing event in Moniteau County from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. today at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds in California.

The testing is open to all Missouri residents and does not require a physician's order or that symptoms be present. A link to view and register for free community testing events in the area can be found at health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/.

The Health Center continues to urge everyone to take actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including avoiding close contact with people who are sick; avoiding touching one's eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; washing one's hands with soap and water regularly; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces regularly; staying home if one feels sick; and adhering to proper social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from others and wearing a facial covering when engaging in tasks away from home.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website at health.mo.gov/coronavirus or the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Missouri operates a statewide COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411 from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week.

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