testing photo

Cars line the road at Krug Park at a COVID-19 community testing event Oct. 10.

Buchanan County is classified by the Harvard Global Health Institute as being in the red zone. This means the county averages over 26 COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people.

Other Northwest Missouri counties such as Clinton, Holt, Andrew, Nodaway, Dekalb and Daviess counties are all in the red zone as well.

Missouri is the 17th highest state in regard to daily cases per 100,000 with 22.9 according to the Global Health Institute, which would put the state in the orange zone. The institute lists four different stages of severity, which are colored green, yellow, orange and red.

Dr. Gary Clapp, a chemistry professor at Missouri Western State University, who has been looking at the rolling averages and giving information to the St. Joseph City Council, said the numbers are always changing and there are multiple conclusions that can be drawn.

“The numbers get difficult to analyze as too many factors are playing into it, it would be nice if this was a simple linear forecast, but it’s not,” Clapp said.

The seven-day and 10-day rolling averages have shown a decrease, which showcases a positive trend since the mask mandate was put in place. Clapp said one of the many factors in Buchanan County staying in the red zone is an increase in testing.

“Buchanan County basically has doubled in the last three weeks with the numbers of test we’re doing,” Clapp said. “If you’re at the same percent rate and you double your number of tests you’re going to double your hits.”

The Global Health Institute would suggest those in the red zone should go into a shutdown to control the amount of cases. Clapp said that he does not want another shutdown and it would have a big economic impact.

Clapp said another positive since the mask mandate is a significant decrease in the positivity rate of those tested.

“Your percent positives were approaching around 20% at the time the mayor issued the order, and almost immediately or a week or so later, the positive rates started coming down,” Clapp said.

The red zones in the state of Missouri tend to go together in groups, such as the one in Northwest Missouri. Clapp said he believes that has to do with the population make-up of an area and the places having higher population density also having higher cases per day.

Mosaic Life Care currently have 66 COVID-19 hospitalizations with 64 in St. Joseph and 2 in Maryville.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.