Buchanan County has seen an upward trend in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks. The county has seen 84 new cases since the city lifted restrictions on June 16.
“I think we all hope that the cases wouldn’t start to rise back up, but I think anytime that you remove a mandate and replace it with just suggestions or encouragement, people are not always willing to do something if it’s not required,” City of St. Joseph Health Department Health Educator Nancy King said. “I think that has attributed to some of the increases that we’re seeing.”
While some jurisdictions such as Jackson County, Missouri, have issued a mask policy for public indoor venues St. Joseph has not done so, although the City Council has planned to make a decision Thursday.
“If you put a mask on and you’re staying 6 feet away when you’re going out in public or around someone that you think maybe at higher risk, you’re really doing a lot to reduce that chance of spreading that aerosol transmission of the virus so that in frequent hand washing, not touching your face, and that’s the real simple things that we can do to slow the spread and reduce the transmission,” King said.
Of 869 cases as of Tuesday afternoon, Buchanan County has had three deaths, which King said she believes is attributed to efforts in testing, measures taken by long-term care facilities and contact tracing. She also said the ability to isolate the sick and contagious where there have been outbreaks such as Triumph Foods has allowed the county to control cases.
King said some symptoms to look out for are headache, some upset stomach, nausea, sore throat, runny nose and lack of taste and smell.
King said there are now many different options to get triaged and tested for COVID-19.
The Health Department COVID-19 call center is still open for questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 816-271-4163.