HILLSBORO, Mo. – The Jefferson County Health Department moved the county into the red alert COVID status Tuesday, which is the highest level indicator. The red status means there is widespread uncontrolled community transmission of the virus.
“The community should be concerned,” Jefferson County Health Department Director Kelley Vollmar said.
The county was moved into the red zone because it saw more than 25+ daily new cases per 100,000 population.
There are 882 active COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County and 818 people are in quarantine after having contact with those who have tested positive.
Vollmar said this is frustrating but expected because the county has been moving toward the red zone in the last 8 to 9 weeks. She said the county did not work into the red one overnight and it’s not something they can get out of overnight either.
“I anticipated that we would likely see continued cases just because our case counts have continued to grow, we’ve been seeing case counts of 77 per day and 65 per day and when you have that kind of new influx of cases, it’s just inevitable that you’re going to see that level of transmission spread in the community,” she said.
According to Vollmar, young Jefferson County residents—29 years and younger—have been driving the larger case numbers.
“We have a lot of our community who doesn’t really I think understand or accept the fact that this truly is a really dangerous virus,” she said. “This is not an issue of masks or non-masks, and what not, this is a human issue, this is about keeping each other safe and healthy and I want the community to know that our focus will be on preventing COVID and keeping people safe.”
The health department’s board voted a mask ordinance into effect at the end of August, but then overturned it the following day. Vollmar said the board does not have set plans to revisit the mandate again.
The health department’s website shows recommendations on how to stop the spread of the virus “in absence of county mandates”:
- limit unnecessary travel and contact with others outside of the home
- avoid crowds and minimize social gatherings
- practice 6-foot physical distancing
- wear a mask when in public as recommended by the CDC
- practice proper hygiene (cough etiquette, hand washing) and disinfection protocols
- stay home if you are sick
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