COVID in Clinton County

The Cameron Regional Medical Center has now erected tents this past week in front of the emergency room in preparation to screen patients for COVID-19 virus.

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Three cases of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed in Northwest Missouri, including one involving a person who had been in a St. Joseph prison.

A prisoner at the Western Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center has been diagnosed with the virus, according to a news release. The prisoner was admitted to a Kansas City area hospital on March 19 and is being treated there. The prisoner, whose name was not released, previously was being monitored for a suspected respiratory condition and had been isolated in a negative-airflow chamber at Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center since March 4.

No other prisoners have had contact with the infected offender since March 4, Department of Corrections officials said in a release. Staff interacting with the offender wore personal protective equipment in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. All rooms and vehicles the offender occupied were immediately sanitized.

Staff who have been in contact with the infected offender have been notified.

Officials said this marks the first reported case of COVID-19 among Missouri Department of Corrections offenders. There are no reported cases of COVID-19 among staff, department officials said.

Missouri Department of Corrections Spokesperson Karen Pojmann last told News-Press NOW that no offenders or staff had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 20.

Monday afternoon, the Platte County Health Department announced another confirmed case of COVID-19 in Northwest Missouri. The department did not say which city the individual resides in, nor did it give a gender or age. The person’s condition is unknown.

And a Clinton County Health Department official said Monday that a “presumptive positive” COVID-19 case there is now confirmed.

Blair Shock, the county’s public health administrator, told News-Press NOW that the first patient, a man between 40 and 50, is doing well in self-isolation at home.

That case was first announced Sunday night.

He said the health department has notified “several” people who were in “close contact” with the man.

Shock added the origin of the case cannot be tracked, and therefore it’s considered “community spread.”

The health department is not naming which smaller community the man is from, as it would violate privacy laws, Shock said.

“Since we live in a number of small communities, identifying any one town could compromise the identity of the patient, which we can’t do,” Shock said. “The community where this person lives isn’t really germane to the discussion. It’s in every community, we just simply haven’t detected it yet.”

He also declined to specify which hospital the man was tested at, though a Mosaic Life Care spokesperson previously told News-Press NOW that no COVID-19 positives had been found in testing at that hospital.

The Cameron Regional Hospital is the only hospital testing in Clinton County.

Shock said the hospital isn’t conducting “drive-through testing” where anyone who wants a test can get one.

Instead, the hospital is conducting “drive-up” testing where patrons must still get approval from their care provider. The tests are conducted in tents near the entrance to the hospital so that patients who don’t need hospitalization don’t have to enter the ER.

In St. Joseph, Mosaic Life Care Hospital announced it has now tested 49 people to date, seven more since Sunday evening. None of those tests came back positive, though 10 are still pending. A spokesperson for the hospital said testing numbers will only be released once per day starting Tuesday.

The St. Joseph Health Department announced it would be conducting all services throughout its building by appointment only beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. In a news release, the department said it would contact patients who have scheduled appointments. Those with questions for the health department are urged to call 816-271-4636, while those with questions for the social welfare board should call 816-233-5188.

On Monday afternoon, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released a statewide update on COVID-19 cases.

From Sunday night to Monday afternoon, cases rose by about 73%, from 106 to 183.

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.