Morgan County seeing higher numbers of COVID than one year ago

Peak numbers were seen last fall, county still reporting fewer cases than surrounding counties

Joyce L. Miller
Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK

Morgan County health officials say the county is experiencing a jump in COVID-19 cases that surpasses what they were seeing a year ago as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

“The reality is, unfortunately, things are worse now than they were a year ago,” Morgan County Health Department Director Shawn Brantley said.

Although Morgan County numbers peaked in the fall, active cases right now are much higher than they were in June of 2020. In May and June of 2020, Morgan County was still seeing single digit numbers of active cases. Right now, Morgan County is reporting 22 active cases, compared to two active cases at this time last year and a total case number of 12. The most recent numbers provided by Brantley show Morgan County has reported a total of 1,798 cases since the pandemic began.

Morgan County is seeing the same trend as much of central Missouri, including Miller and Camden counties, as people begin to get out and do more than in the past year.

“Cases have really increased as we have entered the tourist season. The good news is active cases are nowhere close to where they were during the peak of the pandemic last fall when they were in triple digits,” Brantley said. Even with the increase in cases, he said Morgan County is still reporting fewer cases than surrounding counties.  

“It’s important to remember COVID has not gone away, and it isn’t going to,” he said. “We would urge everyone to get vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, follow the CDC recommendations regarding wearing a mask, social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Morgan County has a vaccination rate of 26% of the population, ahead of Miller County at 21% but lagging behind Camden County at 32%.

The county provides a vaccination clinic every Wednesday offering vaccinations at no cost by appointment. The county currently has the Moderna vaccine available.

Lake Regional Health System is seeing an increase in hospitalizations, as well as visits to the emergency department and Express Care clinics.

Lake Regional currently has eight patients with COVID in the hospital, five in the ICU.  

Average age of hospitalized COVID patients at Lake Regional since June 7, 2021, is 55-years-old.

The health care system has been promoting the safety of COVID vaccinations as well as providing clinics through the lake area for residents to receive the vaccine for free.

“The FDA acted quickly but did not skip safety steps. The technology used for these vaccines has existed for years because of previous work on coronaviruses. And, the vaccines were proven to be safe in clinical trials. Now, millions of people have been vaccinated safely.” said Tony Kauten, Pharm.D., Lake Regional Pharmacy manager.

The vaccines are effective in decreasing the amount of hospitalizations and, if you do get COVID-19 after being vaccinated, your chance of having a severe case is extremely low, according to Lake Regional Pulmonologist Joe Sohal, M.D.

How to Get a Vaccine

Anyone age 12 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Missouri, including non-residents. There is no cost to any patient for the vaccine or office visit.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is available at all seven Lake Regional primary care clinics,” said Lindsay Bentley, MSN, RNC-MNN, director of Clinical Operations. “We want our community and visitors to be protected from COVID-19. To make it easier, the clinics have created a set schedule of when vaccine appointments will be available.”

See the schedule and which vaccines are available at each clinic at www.lakeregional.com/vaccine.

Vax Facts provided by Lake Regional:

·  The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are nearly 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.

· Most side effects are mild, such as a sore arm or tiredness. Some people have no side effects at all. Serious allergic reactions or blood clots are extremely rare.

·  While the COVID-19 vaccines are new, scientists have been working with the technology for mRNA and viral vector vaccines for more than 20 years.

· Diverse groups of people took part in the vaccine studies.

· By far, most doctors who have been offered the vaccines have taken them. This is true nationwide, as well as at Lake Regional.

Morgan County numbers:                                  

                                6/21/2020                            6/21/2021

TOTAL CASES          12                                         798

ACTIVE CASES           2                                           22

RECOVERED             10                                       1732

DEATHS                       0                                             4