The Cole County Health Department has reported a total of 53 residents' deaths due to COVID-19 since March, though the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Tuesday reported a total of 60 COVID-19 deaths in the county since March.
Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell acknowledged Tuesday the gap has been a source of confusion and explained the reasons for the difference in totals — essentially, the state knows about more deaths than the county does.
Cole County on Monday had reported a total of 16 deaths outside long-term care facilities and 15 more inside long-term care facilities. On Tuesday, the total deaths in the county were at 53, with 33 at long-term care facilities.
However, various local long-term care facilities in Cole County have themselves reported at least 45 deaths among residents — and that number would not include any deaths that have happened at facilities other than those listed below.
A total of 28 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have died at the three skilled care facilities of StoneBridge Senior Living in Jefferson City — 13 residents at Adams Street, eight at Oak Tree and seven at Villa Marie — as of Nov. 29, the most recent information posted online by StoneBridge.
Eighty-eight other skilled care residents at those facilities had recovered, with five more at Villa Marie who had tested positive. No employees at any of the three facilities are listed as having died, though two each at Adams Street and Villa Marie were not working because they had active positive cases.
A total of 10 residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 since May 1 have died at Heisinger Bluffs in Jefferson City, along with four residents who have died at the St. Joseph's Neighborhood Care Center that's part of Heisinger Bluffs, according to information posted by Lutheran Senior Services.
Two of the deaths at Heisinger Bluffs happened last week. Of the total 44 residents there who have tested positive since May 1, 12 have recovered. Of 51 employees who have tested positive, 31 have recovered, and none have died.
At St. Joseph's Neighborhood Care Center — also located on West Main Street, near Heisinger Bluffs — 11 of the 18 residents who have tested positive have recovered, as have 27 of 37 employees who have tested positive, and no employees have died.
At Jefferson City Manor, JMS Senior Living reported as of Monday there was a new case or cluster of cases among staff there — the site of a lethal outbreak earlier this year — though the company did not detail how many staff had tested positive.
"We realize that the death data has been confusing and not always in sync" with the state health department's website, Campbell said.
She said the main issue behind the discrepancy is that deaths are not always reported to the county Health Department, while they are mandated to be reported to the state.
"When we receive updated reports from (DHSS), we reconcile our numbers," Campbell said.
She continued, "In addition to the new deaths that are reported to (DHSS), they have also been periodically reviewing older death certificates and counting additional deaths as COVID deaths. We do not review the death certificates in our county to determine if they should be counted as a COVID death."
Lastly, she said, the state's number includes deaths of inmates in the prison system, while the county Health Department does not count inmate numbers in its case or death data.
The Missouri Department of Corrections does not report where inmate deaths have occurred in the prison system, though a total of 33 offenders have died since March — six since last week, and all but one of the 33 since September.
Jefferson City has two DOC facilities — Algoa Correctional Center and Jefferson City Correctional Center.
As of data shown online Tuesday, there were two active cases among offenders at Algoa and five active cases among staff there. One hundred thirty-three offenders have recovered, as have 49 staff.
At JCCC, there were 40 active cases among offenders and 20 active cases among staff. A total of 290 offenders have recovered, as have 106 staff.