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story.lead_photo.caption This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Photo by NIAID-RML via AP
For more news about the COVID-19 coronavirus, access the News Tribune Health section.

The number of active COVID-19 cases and those who have recovered from the novel coronavirus were the same Thursday in Cole County, a hopeful sign for county health officials.

On Thursday afternoon, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Cole County was still at 35, but the number of active cases was the same as those who had recovered, 17. The county had one coronavirus-related death reported last Friday.

"That is exciting that the active and recovered number is the same, and I would like to think the stay-at-home order is a reason for that," Cole County Health Director Kristi Campbell said. "There's a lot of data that shows stay-at-home orders are helping to stop the spread because it lessens the contact among people. Citizens seem to be heeding the order."

The original county stay-at-home order was scheduled to expire Saturday. But the Cole County Commission extended the order Wednesday afternoon to noon April 25. It can be changed or modified if needed; Jefferson City officials said they are supporting the order.

When the order was extended, it was also modified to allow more small businesses to provide curbside service.

There was a provision in the original order about delivery of food, groceries and goods, but the order didn't define what goods were included, Campbell said.

"It was confusing for some small business owners if they were allowed to deliver, ship or not," she said. "This included business such as salons, florists, clothiers and home decor."

When this was pointed out, Campbell said, they looked at conditions regarding the transmission of the virus and looked at the risks.

"So when we extended the order, we added provisions to allow these type of businesses to deliver as long as there was no direct contact," Campbell said. "Products that people might need or want they can now deliver them as long as there is no direct contact. We also mentioned no customers can be allowed in their stores."

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