Monroe County records four more COVID-19 cases; Ralls County reports increase

By Forrest Gossett Salt River Journal Editor
Posted: Jul. 31, 2020 4:23 pm Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 10:09 pm

PARIS | Four more COVID-19 cases were reported by the Monroe County Health Department on Friday morning.

Neighboring Ralls County reported 20 cases as of Friday, two more than on Thursday. The county warned of social gathering that may be add more cases.

The case count in Monroe County is now 16, including six active cases, said Paula Delaney, director of the Monroe County Health Department. She said none of the new cases appear to be travel related.

Cases in Monroe County are a small fraction of the 50,323 cases reported in the state by the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services, as of 2 p.m. on Friday. That was an increase of more than 3,400 cases in two days. The department reports that Missouri has 1,243 deaths attributed the coronavirus, with 10 new deaths reported on Friday.

Delaney said staff tracers for the Monroe County Health Department are conducting contact tracing, to determine who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus by those who were reported positive overnight.

“As soon as we were notified by the state this morning (Friday), we started contacting the affected people and began contact tracing,” Delaney said. “We are not here 24/7, but as soon as the state makes contact, our work begins.”

Delaney said that the Health Department learned on Friday afternoon that one of the new positive cases is a person who visited Pleasant Green Baptist Church near Madison, Mo., on July 26, 2020, for Sunday morning services. Direct contacts were unable to be identified during contact tracing.

“If you were at Pleasant Green Baptist Church for Sunday morning services on Sunday, July 26, 2020, please monitor for symptoms until Aug. 9, 2020,” she said. “It is important to remember that anyone you come into contact with could be a potential carrier. Please take preventive measures at all times to help reduce the risk of contracting the virus.”

Delaney said that contact tracers try to determine where those who test positive have been over the last two days.

“We are asking where they have been to within six feet of someone else for at least 15 minutes,” Delaney said.

She said that when contact tracers find people who may have been exposed, they recommend an immediate quarantine of 14 days.

“There is no need to rush out and be tested because that can lead to negative results that can give a false sense of security,” she said. “They need to quarantine and watch out for symptoms of the virus.”

She said that people she sees in public and who call her office are growing weary of the COVID-19 pandemic and the precautions that are being recommended against the disease. The problem, said Delaney, is that rural communities are not immune to COVID-19.

Although Monroe County will not likely issue mandates on conduct or limit businesses, she said the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are important safety measures.

“There will not be a mandate, but it just makes sense to stay out of crowds, wash your hands with warm water and soap frequently and, if you can tolerate, wear a mask,” she said.

The Ralls County Health Department warned of possible COVID-19 exposure at three community events:

Center Park Days on July 24 and 25.

Field 4 at the Bear Creek Ball Fields from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 25.

A funeral visitation on Monday and funeral service on Tuesday at James O'Donnell Funeral Home.

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