Covid Cases Rise, Health Dept. Readies For Vaccine

By: 
Anita Campbell
County Reporter
As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Benton County, officials are taking steps to insure the safety of residents.
According to Benton County Health Department Director Linda Viebrock, there have been 774 Benton Countians who have tested positive for COVID-19.  Of those there are 129 active cases while 633 patients have been released.  Ten patients were hospitalized recently and the COVID-19 death toll for Benton County is up to 10.
The Benton County Health Department recommends that residents continue to wear face masks when they have to be out in public, maintain social distancing, practice good hygiene and avoid large gatherings.
“We are trying to slow the spread of this virus down,” said Viebrock.  “We are experiencing staff shortages at all of our area hospitals.  There are probably people who should be in the hospital but they aren’t because there aren’t enough hospital beds to care for the increasing number of people suffering from COVID-19.”  
Viebrock recommended that Benton County residents get a flu shot because along with the spread of COVID-19, a combination of COVID-19 and the flu would be dangerous.
“We are hoping to have the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December,” said Viebrock.  “The vaccine will probably first go to the chronically ill, those in long term care and health care workers.  Early reports are that the vaccine will be 90 to 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.”
Viebrock commented that those without insurance who need COVID-19 testing should call for an appointment at Katy Trail on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Katy Trail, located at 17571 North Dam Access Road in Warsaw, will be able to provide free COVID test from 8 AM until 11 AM.  Call 660-438-2717 for an appointment.
The National Guard will be at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia at the Sheep Barn on November 20 from 11 AM until 5 PM to administer free COVID testing.  For an appointment call 877-435-8411.
 Viebrock urged Benton Countians to stay home if they are sick unless they are seeking medical assistance.
“If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may have been exposed, tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19,” Viebrock said.
An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours before the person has any symptoms or tests positive.  
Symptoms include:  fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
Call ahead before visiting a medical facility.
Benton County Presiding Commissioner Steve Daleske strongly advises that all residents follow the Benton County Health Department directives to wear face masks when in social situations, maintain social distancing and wash hands frequently.
 “All of us have to take responsibility for what we do,” said Daleske.  “Just as you shouldn’t try to approach a mean cow without a stick, you shouldn’t go out in public without a mask.”
According to Warsaw City Administrator Randy Pogue, city officials are closely monitoring surrounding areas as the number of COVID-19 patients continue to rise in Henry and Pettis counties.
“We are in constant contact with the Benton County Health Department to make sure our citizens are safe,” said Pogue.  “The Warsaw Board will act as needed to deal with the COVID-19 situation.  This is all new to us and we are learning to deal with a pandemic.”
Pogue mentioned that the city officials don’t want to cancel events that they have worked to create but the safety of Warsaw residents is of the upmost importance.  Presently, the City of Warsaw is still planning on the Warsaw Christmas parade on December 12.
“This has been very tough on everyone,” Pogue said.
Lincoln Mayor John King said that Lincoln residents are being urged to follow the Benton County Health Department directives.
“I wear a mask in public to not only protect myself but others,” said King.  “It is everyone’s responsibility to protect others and get this virus under control.”
At this point the Lincoln Christmas parade is still scheduled for December 12 with activities planned for inside the Lincoln Schools as well.
With the end of the year approaching, Benton County residents will need to pay their property taxes.  According to David Brodersen, county collector, residents will be able to pay their taxes and print their statements online.
“Those wishing to pay their taxes online can do that by going to bentoncountycollector.com and following the directions,” said Brodersen.  “Taxpayers can use a debit or credit card which will include a 2.4% interest charge or an e check which includes a $1.75 fee.”
Brodersen said that taxpayers can still come in person to the Benton County Courthouse to pay their taxes or they can mail their taxes or drop their check off in the drop box at the courthouse.
City officials in Clinton, Missouri, have issued a civil emergency as the COVID-19 positivity rate soars. Mayor Greg Lowe said community spread is at its highest in Clinton since the pandemic started with the positivity rate at 29%. That means more than one-quarter of all people tested for the virus in Clinton are positive.
There have been 255,698 cases of COVID-19 in Missouri and 3,485 deaths.

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