Boone County reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — the highest single-day total in two months.

Seven cases also were reported March 26, the day after Columbia and Boone County jointly enacted a stay-at-home order.

The new reported cases mean there have been 25 new cases in the county in the past week, compared to 25 cases reported for the entire month of April, according to the city of Columbia’s COVID-19 information hub.

The increase in reported cases is occurring three weeks into the city’s gradual reopening plan, which began May 4. In the weeks prior to the reopening, few new cases were reported, with several days in April and early May where no new positive cases were reported.

A total of 130 cases of COVID-19 hreported in Boone County, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The rise in reported cases comes after city trash collection was disrupted when it was reported that several Columbia solid waste employees were being placed in isolation after having been exposed to COVID-19. Several members of a waste collection temp agency were also exposed, according to a city news release.

One trash collector tested positive, and seven were placed in isolation. The exposure came from contacted with another presumed positive case, Brian Adkisson, communications specialist for Columbia, said.

It also is possible collection will be disrupted beyond the end of the month, the release stated. The city is closely monitoring the trash collection situation, but does not know when trash and recycling collection will return to normal.

“There is no plan beyond this week,” Adkisson said.

Local hospitals have reported an increase in patients being treated for COVID-19.

MU Health Care has eight inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 13 inpatients with COVID-19 test results pending. The current numbers for inpatient positive and pending cases are similar to trends over the past few weeks, according to Eric Maze, media relations specialist for MU Health Care.

Boone Hospital Center couldn’t comment on its situation Wednesday.

Truman Veterans‘ Hospital currently has four inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19, with two new cases in the last week.

The number of inpatients with COVID-19 has seen an uptick.

For example, on April 20, MU reported four inpatients testing positive for COVID-19, Truman reported one and Boone said it did not have any. A week later, MU reported three inpatients, Truman had two and Boone said it was treating two inpatients for COVID-19.

By May 4, MU was reporting seven inpatients with COVID-19, while Truman and Boone reported two each.

Despite the recent surge in positive cases, Columbia continues to move forward with its reopening plan. Columbia Health Director Stephanie Browning did not respond to request for comment Wednesday; however, in the past, she has said, if Columbia begins to see a spike it cases, it will be forced to reevaluate.

“If we see this curve stay flat, we’ll begin loosening up these regulations a little bit more. I have to emphasize, though: If we don’t and we start to see a spike, then we’ll have to step backward,” Browning said at a community briefing April 30. “And I think that would be devastating.”

Mayor Brian Treece has said Columbia would need to see a sustained rise in positive cases over a longer period of time in order to avoiding hitting the benchmarks to pause the reopening.

Starting on Wednesday, the veterans hospital is sending a mobile testing unit at various dates to its eight community outpatient clinics across Missouri. Veterans and those who qualify for enrollment can take advantage of this opportunity, according to a news release.

“The practice of social distancing, wearing face coverings in public and otherwise limiting possible exposure to the disease are very important steps in keeping not only ourselves safe from COVID-19, but our friends, our families, our colleagues and, in our case, the veterans we serve,” Jeff Hoelscher, public affairs officer for the veterans hospital, said.

The veterans hospital mobile testing unit will be available at these places:

  • Waynesville outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at 700 GW Lane St., Waynesville, Missouri
  • Sedalia outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at 3320 West Tenth St., Sedalia, Missouri
  • Kirksville outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at 506 Rosewood Drive, Kirksville, Missouri
  • Mexico outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3, at 3460 South Clark St., Mexico, Missouri
  • Marshfield outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 4, at 1240 Banning St., Marshfield, Missouri
  • Jefferson City outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 9, at 3430 West Edgewood Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri
  • St. James outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 10, at 207 Matlock Drive, St. James, Missouri
  • Osage Beach outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 11, at 940 Executive Drive, Osage Beach, Missouri

Columbia has been offering a COVID-19 mobile testing operation since early May, serving communities around Boone County. The testing sites are a collaboration between Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, Truman Veterans’ Hospital, MU Health Care and Boone Hospital Center.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Assistant City Editor. I am a senior studying data journalism. Contact me at kaleighfeldkamp@mail.missouri.edu, or 574-850-0257.

  • General Assignment reporter, summer 2020. Studying data journalism. Reach me at bs2t6@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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