COVID Count: St Francois County At Code Red

(Park Hills,Mo) - The latest numbers of COVID cases in St Francois County are sobering. As of Monday afternoon, the count stands at 845, up 90 additional cases just since Friday.  This puts St Francois County in third place nationally for the metro and micro areas with the greatest number of new cases, relative to their population, in the last two weeks, according to the New York Times.

The St Francois County Health Department says starting next week because there are so many new cases each day, they will only update the case count on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to allow for more time to process the cases and contact tracing. 

On Friday, the county's health department Director, Amber Elliot, expressed frustration at the lack of assistance the department has received from the state, and the red tape that is preventing the department from receiving federal CARE Act money that is supposed to help support the needs of the health department during the pandemic.  Elliot says they are doing all they can with the limited staffing they have, citing facts that Missouri is 50 out of 50 states for how low health departments are funded by the state.  She says the need far outweighs the available money.

The department, in conjunction with BJC Parkland Health Center in Farmington, is asking all county residents to wear a mask when out in public and to maintain social distancing. The department says you should treat all people outside your family unit as if they have COVID whether they seem healthy or not, due to community spread. The department upped the condition on the color code from yellow to Code Red last week, the highest alert the department has for St Francois County due to community spread and the hospital nearing capacity.