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By Marlana Smith
As of June 4, 2021 Missouri has had a total of nearly 620,000 confirmed or probable cases of the COVID-19 virus. 512,834 were confirmed by the more accurate PRC test, and an additional 88,669 by the quicker, but less accurate an-tigen test. In total, more than 7.1 million COVID-19 tests have been reported in Missouri-more than Missouri’s total population of 6.1 million people.
Sadly, over 9,000 Missourians lost their lives due to the pandemic.
Locally, the Shelby County Health Department has reported 690 total cases, with 10 total deaths. No one is currently hospitalized.
Re-infections, though uncommon, are also not counted twice in the totals.
Both statewide and locally, the number of new cases of COVID-19 peaked in November and has been decreasing since that time.
The Shelby County Health Department continues to update the public via their Facebook page.
Vaccinations started locally January 28, and receiving the vaccine was prioritized. Among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine were health care workers, followed by emergency services and public health infrastructure. High-risk individuals were next, followed by critical infrastructure employees. As supplies of the vaccines increased, more people were eligible.
Currently, 32.2 percent of the county’s population has received the vaccine which is 1,915 residents out of 5,930. A little over 2,000 have started their vaccine. A total of 3,885 doses of been administered.
At present, anyone age 18 or over in Missouri is eligible to receive the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in adolescents age 12-18. It is the only vaccine approved for that age group.
The SCHD is referring anyone who wants a vaccine 12 and up to Johnston Drug in Clarence or one of the national pharmacy chains in the area i.e.: Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Hy-Vee, etc.
“We are currently working with other health departments in Region B on sharing a tray of Pfizer vaccine to be offered it to those 12-15,” SCHD Administrator Audrey Gough said.
The health department should know by this week if they will be approved to receive the vaccine to share with other counties.
Currently, SCHD would have to order 450 doses of Pfizer and it is viable in the refrigerator for two weeks or in the freezer for 30 days.
“We want to be sure we have a group to receive it and not waste doses by opening a vial and only taking out one or two doses in a day’s time,” Gough said.
Youth younger than 12, do not have an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Fortunately, they are at lower risk of contracting the virus, and usually have less severe symptoms.
As supplies of the vaccines have increased, so have the numbers of Missourians vaccinated. As of June 4, over 2.5 million people have started their vaccinations, with over 2.1 completing them. Over 52 percent of the population 18 and over have received at least one dose. Almost 44 percent have completed their vaccinations.
If and when it is reported, it will be entered into the ShowMeVax system, a statewide database of all vaccination records, not just COVID-19 vaccinations.
ShowMeVax is a secure and confidential data system designed to meet the national standards for effective tracking and timely administration of immunizations in a public health setting. It is a web-based database that maintains complete, accurate, and secure immunizations records for Missouri residents. The immunization information is available to authorized users, such as health care providers, childcare facilities, and schools who work together to inhibit vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the health.mo.gov website.
Vaccines are available at Peoples Clinic in Shelbyville/Clarence. They are able to do the antigen testing (rapid test) and more clinics/doctor offices are now testing.
Gough admitted it has been a very challenging and trying year for public health in the community. Not just one person or one family, but the entire county of residents.
“We appreciate everyone who cooperated with us during this pandemic when we called to do contact tracing, “Gough continued, “we couldn’t have done it without the hard work and dedication of our staff, board members and members of our long-term care facilities, and especially our school districts and private school at Heartland.”
Gough said the health department did the job they were hired to do in public health – work to protect the health of Shelby County.
“Shelby County deserves the best care, and we plan to continue to work with our community to assure that is available for everyone,” Gough added.