Two years into the pandemic, more than 54 percent of Cole County residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine.
That's the figure Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell gave during a regular briefing to the Jefferson City Council.
"Statewide COVID cases are higher than they have been at any other time during the pandemic," Campbell said. "Hospitalizations have increased slightly; deaths have not. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports the detection of more of the omicron variant in Missouri, but it is not the dominant variant yet. The omicron variant seems to be more contagious but not producing as severe disease."
Data on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website has shown incremental growth of COVID-19 cases statewide (and in Mid-Missouri counties) for several weeks.
However, the numbers took a significant jump Tuesday.
The rate of daily cases statewide jumped 114.7 percent from last week to 630 new cases per 100,000 population Tuesday. Cole County has jumped 93.9 percent from last week to 417 new cases per 100,000 population. Boone County climbed 149.1 percent higher than last week at 542 new cases per 100,000 population.
Missouri is up to 13,268 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
With an increase in respiratory illnesses including influenza and COVID-19, Campbell said the local health care organizations have been busy with sick clients. She said St. Mary's Hospital and Capital Region Medical Center are reporting a "high patient census and staff shortages."
Campbell also said all the local health care organizations are offering testing and vaccines in their doctor's and clinic offices daily. COVID-19 vaccines are available Thursdays at the Cole County Health Department and at most retail pharmacies daily.
"There is ample vaccine supply in our county for those who would like to receive a vaccine," Campbell said. "Local health care providers have requested that parents of children ages 5-11 call their primary care physician or pediatrician to schedule a vaccine appointment."
For those who have traveled for the holidays, Campbell said they are asking them to distance themselves for at least five days upon return and monitor for symptoms. This follows CDC's new recommendation for quarantine and isolation. Those new guidelines can be found at colehealth.org on the new blue sheet that will be handed out to those being tested for COVID-19 in Cole County.