Though Moniteau County has recorded another death due to the coronavirus this week, new cases are on enough of a decline that the county's risk category has been downgraded.
The latest deceased individual was in their 40s, marking the 27th death in the county related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Nevertheless, cases have trickled down to the point that Moniteau County is now categorized as "Critical Risk." The county's seven-day positivity rate and seven-day case rate per 100,000 members of the population were 8.2 percent and 130 respectively as of Monday.
Active cases are also at their lowest total since late December, numbering at 42 as of press time Tuesday. Of that group, three individuals are currently hospitalized for their symptoms. A total of 1,852 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Moniteau County since last March.
This all coincides with the start of vaccine rollout in earnest in the county. Darrell Hendrickson, environmental specialist with the Moniteau County Health Center, said the county is vaccinating members of the community per Gov. Mike Parson's priority list.
Hendrickson encouraged the public to visit the Health Center's website at www.moniteaucountyhealth.org, or its Facebook page, to register for the vaccination wait list. He said the public can also get help with registering by calling the Health Center at 573-796-3412.
From that list, Hendrickson said the Health Center will contact people as their priority comes up and will work with them to set a vaccination appointment.
"We got 400 doses this week; we'll shoot all 400 before Friday," Hendrickson said early this week of the county's progress so far. "It's been a pretty steady stream of folks."
Hendrickson said he's uncertain how many doses the county may receive from week to week, but as long as vaccine numbers hold up he would expect the county to be fine. Hendrickson said Moderna's vaccine could help supplement the county's supply, as well.
Hendrickson said the county's new risk classification is great news after a busy few months of new cases.
"That just means the stuff we have been doing over the last several months now seems to be working, just want to encourage people to keep it up," Hendrickson said. "This is not the time to take the foot off the gas; it's time to continue being safe, wear the mask, do the hand washing, do the social distancing, until we do get the population vaccinated."
Hendrickson said it's too soon to make any adjustments; the community should continue to be diligent if it wants the downward trend to continue.
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 in Missouri and what can be done on an individual level to help stop the spread, visit oneforallmo.com. Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at health.mo.gov/coronavirus or 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.