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4 new COVID-related deaths in SFC, 1 in Madison and Washington
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4 new COVID-related deaths in SFC, 1 in Madison and Washington

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The St. Francois County Health Center reported four new confirmed COVID-19-related deaths and 78 new cases on Monday.

The total number of COVID-related deaths in the county is now 27. Madison County and Washington County also each reported a death on Monday. Madison County now has seven and Washington County has 18.

There are now 372 active cases in St. Francois County; of those, 21 are related to the Department of Corrections outbreaks and 78 are associated with long-term care facilities.

The total number of cases for the county since March 22 is 3,092.

Hospitalizations are up three since Friday.

Parkland Health Center Medical Director Dr. Scott Kirkley said on Friday that the number of COVID patients at the hospital has been down recently, but he thinks the numbers might go up since the rate of positivity has gone up. The latest rate of positivity for the county is 12.4% as of the week starting Oct. 11. The week before that it was 12.3%, before that it was 10.7%.

“I'm encouraged that the numbers have come down, but when the positivity rates are going up, it really just seems to be a matter of delay of two to three weeks before you start to see the inpatient go up as well,” he explained.

As far as a vaccine goes, Dr. Kirkley also said on Friday that best estimates are still for one being available by the end of the year.

“I know that some of the news around stopping to investigate safety concerns around some of the vaccines probably has people worried,” he said. “But it's a very natural process for how we do science for this kind of thing. And it should encourage people that we're not just going to push something through or somebody's going to push something through that's considered unsafe.”

He said he’s been telling his patients that scientists have been able to make safe vaccines for the better part of 50 years.

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“While I believe that the vaccines themselves will be safe, the efficacy, how long it lasts or how good it is, what percent of people will form an immune response, some of that's going to take time to know as we start vaccination programs,” he added.

Public skepticism as this point, he said, is not warranted. Once the vaccine is rolled out and as health workers and older people are vaccinated first and as numbers start to decline, the general public will become more comfortable, he said.

“And hopefully, we'll be able to get everybody vaccinated in 2021 if the vaccine is available by then,” Dr. Kirkley added.

The health center announced on Monday that, as of next Monday, they will be reporting daily COVID numbers on just their website, not Facebook.

The Ste. Genevieve Health Department made a similar announcement on Thursday night.

“The responses received on the Facebook posts are getting out of hand with all the negative, insulting, and argumentative comments,” their Facebook update said. “Not to mention the ‘conspiracy theories.’ Unfortunately we cannot make everyone happy or accommodate to what everyone thinks they ‘deserve’ or ‘have the right to.’ With most information people are demanding, it can be found on the state dashboard along with other reputable websites. If you choose to think the data is incorrect or not current enough, we encourage you to do your own research to find what you may be looking for. We also encourage sharing other reputable websites that could be helpful to others.”

On Monday, the health department had 41 new cases in Ste. Gen County. There are now 73 active, 420 total, and 15 total probable cases.

The health department in Madison County also reported 13 new cases. Active cases are now up to 75 and total cases to 544.

They also reported a potential exposure risk: Calvary Church, Oct, 25, evening Celebrate Recovery meeting, monitor for symptoms through Nov. 8.

Since Thursday, Washington County has 66 new cases, according to the health department. They now have 143 active and 878 total cases.

The Iron County Health Department reported 13 new cases, bringing the county’s total to 39 active and 222 total cases.

Nikki Overfelt-Chifalu is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at noverfelt@dailyjournalonline.com.

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