COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Buchanan County, raising concerns for those in the community.
As of Wednesday morning, there were 92 COVID-19 hospitalizations at Mosaic Life Care, with 80 in St. Joseph. Of those 80 patients, 67 are on the fourth and fifth COVID-19 floor, and 13 in the intensive care unit, six of which are on ventilators.
“It’s almost to the point where it’s scary, because the most important numbers are at the hospital,” Missouri Western State University chemistry professor Gary Clapp said.
Clapp provides the St. Joseph City Council with the seven-day and 14-day rolling averages. Daily cases have seen the biggest jump since earlier this spring when Mayor Bill McMurray issued a shelter in place ordinance.
Clapp said the spike comes right in line with Halloween and the election, when a lot of people congregated inside buildings that could have had bad air circulation, which causes the virus to spread faster.
“I know at least a couple people who were positive at the time of the election and didn’t know it, so they could have been super spreaders when we went into our polling booth, and it was picked up there,” Clapp said.
Clapp said when there is no outside air being circulated into buildings, the water droplets sit in the air and cause the virus to be more transmissional.
Although the St. Joseph City Council instituted a mask mandate and extended it 90 more days Monday, there has not been a significant sign of the virus slowing down.
“Whatever we’re doing, it’s not working,” Northwest Health Services physician Dr. Francisco Aleman said. “I believe that we maybe have become too relaxed with some of these recommendations, we need to slow this down before it starts to get worse.”
In Buchanan County there have been ten COVID-19 related deaths since Friday’s COVID-19 briefing was released by the St. Joseph Health Department. Four deaths were announced on Monday, three on Tuesday, and three more on Wednesday.