COVID-19 cases continue to fall | Local news – Community News

COVID-19 cases continue to fall | Local news

Unlike November 2020 — when COVID-19 cases and deaths reached unprecedented levels across the region — pandemic-related numbers at both Joplin hospitals continue to decline.

Mercy Hospital Joplin officials reported nine COVID-19 patients on Tuesday afternoon, though only six were active, and the other three were out of isolation. Of the six, two were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator. At Freeman Health System on Wednesday, 13 patients — 11 at Freeman West, two in Neosho — are being treated for COVID-19, with two on ventilators.

The numbers have fallen slowly over the past six weeks, Freeman president and CEO Paula Baker said during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, calling the numbers “encouraging news.”

Those numbers are much lower than what the region saw a year ago this month, when Jasper and Newton counties recorded 4,311 new COVID-19 cases and 61 deaths between October 30 and December 1, 2020. In the first week of November 2020 alone, the two counties in southwestern Missouri registered 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.

The declining numbers “are largely due to all the positive steps everyone has taken — getting the vaccine, getting the booster, social distancing … wearing your mask whenever possible; all those things are so important,” Baker said. “Clearly it works.”

dr. Saima Bano Memon, of Mercy Hospital Joplin, said on Tuesday that despite the positive numbers and trends, “I don’t want to be wary. I still want to be careful because every time we (COVID-19), when we talk about the hump, something else will come.”

Vaccination Numbers

In terms of vaccination, the City of Joplin continues to lead Missouri with 57.4% completed vaccinations, or 29,209 vaccinated residents. Joplin residents who started the vaccination process is 63.7%, which also leads the Show-Me State.

In Jasper County, 30.9% of the population is fully vaccinated, or 23,745 residents. Newton County sits at 29.3% fully vaccinated, or 14,185 residents.

Statewide, 56.1% of Missouri residents — or just over 3 million residents — have been fully vaccinated, with 56.1% having started the vaccination process.

Flu season back

For the second year in a row, flu season is happening amid a global pandemic.

Last year’s flu season wasn’t quite a season, mainly due to masking, social distancing and other safety measures due to the pandemic. This year’s flu season, now in its sixth week, is having more of an impact on Missouri residents.

According to state health sources, “we’ve seen 25% more flu cases since last year,” said Jessica Liberty, Freeman’s infection prevention manager.

She said people “need to be aware that flu and COVID is a very real and strong possibility, so it’s so important for the community to get their flu vaccines” before the end of November, when most hospitals see a traditional surge. in flu cases among their patients.

Both the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot can be given on the same day, Liberty said — one injection in each arm. Both vaccines, she added, significantly reduce the severity of the disease and help people avoid hospitalizations.

The infectious respiratory diseases have similar symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and sore throat. If someone goes into a local clinic or hospital and shows one or more symptoms, health officials will “test for both, because it’s not unheard of for people to have both COVID and the flu,” Liberty said. “So be very careful and protect yourself by getting both the COVID and flu vaccine.”