Boone County reported a new increase of 100 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, the first time the county has hit triple digits since Sept. 5.

*The increase in cases comes, in part, from a medical provider that did not report 25 cases dating back to Oct. 5. However, 60 of the cases reported Wednesday were from Oct. 12 and 13.

The increase in cases is concerning to Scott Clardy, the assistant director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services.

“We really don’t know why the numbers are climbing,” Clardy said. “I’ve looked back to see if there were any significant events over the last week, and there was a football game. We went downtown and pretty much everybody was doing a great job, so we don’t think that was an issue.”

Boone County had relatively low case numbers this week and will continue to monitor the number of cases.

“Up until yesterday or today, we weren’t impacting Missouri’s increase in numbers significantly,” Clardy said. “Some of the counties around us are seeing significant increases of cases, especially Cole County.”

Community transmission is the primary mode by which the virus is spreading in Boone County, but the Health Department still needs to conduct interviews to find out other possible exposures.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services said in a news release that it had solved an issue with its public health dashboard. On Saturday, the dashboard incorrectly shows an increase of more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours.

While the total number was accurate, the department said it reflected an increase across multiple days. Health and Senior Services is working to prevent the error from happening again, according to the release.

“We remain committed to undergoing continuous quality improvement as we share the data from these tests,” Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams said in the release.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has provided the dashboard linkable from its website since early on in the pandemic. It was upgraded Sept. 28 to offer more detailed information such as demographic data.

The Missouri Hospital Association’s weekly email newsletter showed that the number of patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 had reached a record of more than 1,400 on Tuesday. The biggest increases were seen in the northern and southern regions of the state, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Around the state, 56 veterans home residents have died of COVID-19 since Sept. 1, including 25 at one facility in southeast Missouri.

A spokesperson for the Missouri Veterans Commission told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wednesday that the deadliest outbreak was in Cape Girardeau, where 20 residents died in September and five more have died in October, through Monday.

Another veterans home, in the southwestern Missouri town of Mt. Vernon, has been the site of 13 resident deaths, 12 others died in St. James and six more died in Warrensburg.

Thirty-eight of the deaths occurred in September, said Jamie Melchert, spokesperson for the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Prior to September, the only confirmed coronavirus death in a Missouri veterans home was in April in north St. Louis County.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson called for an external review of operations at the veterans homes on Oct. 2 but didn’t say how many veterans had died. Melchert said the St. Louis law firm Armstrong Teasdale will handle the review.

During a visit to the Mt. Vernon Veterans Home on Sept. 15, Parson praised the commission.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working hard to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe,” Parson said in a Facebook post. “Our Missouri Veterans Commission has set the standard nationwide for veteran homes.”

The first positive COVID-19 test at the Mt. Vernon Veterans Home was the next day, Sept. 16, Melchert has said.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said the office doesn’t believe Parson contracted the virus during his visit.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Public Health and Safety reporter, fall 2020 Studying convergence journalism Reach me at zhormell@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at mhart@mail.missouri.edu.

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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