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Jefferson City and Cole County are seeing high levels of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and the task force recommended more proactive measures or restrictions for universities, schools, bars and restaurants.
The latest task force report specific to Missouri - dated Sept. 6 - was obtained and released to the public by the Center for Public Integrity, which has been maintaining and publishing the reports since June, including state-specific reports.
Much of Mid-Missouri is also seeing moderate or high levels of community transmission, according to the task force's latest report on Missouri.
"Missouri is in the red zone for cases, including more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the seventh highest rate in the country," according to the report.
"Missouri is in the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5 percent and 10 percent, with the ninth highest rate in the country," the report added.
Jefferson City and Columbia were listed among 12 metro areas in the red zone for reporting in the last week new cases above 100 per 100,000 population and lab test positivity results above 10 percent.
Cole, Boone, Camden and Miller counties were also listed in the red zone.
Callaway, Morgan, Moniteau and Osage counties were listed in the yellow zone for reporting in the last week new cases between 10-100 per 100,000 population and lab test positivity results between 5-10 percent, or for having one of those conditions and another that would qualify for red zone status.
The lists of localities labeled red or yellow were ranked by the number of new cases in the previous three weeks, from highest to lowest - making Jefferson City fifth and Columbia second out of 12 metro areas in the red zone.
Cole County was sixth, Boone County second, Camden County 14th and Miller County 20th out of the 38 counties in the red zone.
Springfield and Greene County topped the red zone lists.
According to the report, 67 percent of all Missouri counties had moderate or high levels of community transmission, with a third of counties being in the red zone.
"Missouri had 150 new cases per 100,000 population in the last week, compared to a national average of 88 per 100,000," according to the report.
Based on those findings, the task force recommended masks be required in metro areas and counties with COVID-19 cases among students or teachers in K-12 schools. It was also recommended community spread among K-12 teachers - as well as nursing home and other congregate living staff and first responders - be monitored weekly with a rapid antigen test, Abbott BinaxNOW.
The task force also recommended increased testing at universities, efforts to increase compliance with health recommendations, and the use of "all university, veterinary and research platforms for surveillance and testing of students and, if needed, the surrounding communities."
"Bars must be closed, and indoor dining must be restricted to 50 percent of normal capacity in yellow zone and 25 percent of normal capacity in red zone counties and metro areas. Expand outdoor dining options," the report recommended.