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The News Tribune is offering this article free to all readers because it includes information important to the health and safety of our community.

The Miller County Health Center advised of a large increase in active COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities Thursday.

"Every long-term care facility in the county has had at least one resident or staff member infected with COVID-19," Miller County Health Center Administrator Mike Herbert told the News Tribune. "There are two facilities that we consider as having an outbreak."

post on the Health Center's Facebook page asks Miller County residents to continue to use COVID-19 prevention best practices, such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing, to keep themselves and their families safe.

As of Thursday, there were 135 active cases of COVID-19 in Miller County, while 613 people had recovered and 13 had died.

Of those who had died, nine were ages 65 and older, two were between 40-64 and two were between 20-39.

Four Miller County residents remained hospitalized with the coronavirus Thursday.

Herbert said the dashboard showed a rise in active cases by about 30 percent from the center's previous post. The numbers include all active cases, from the general public and long-term care facilities, and the center may begin separating those, he said.

All long-term care facilities in the county are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by restricting visitors, requiring staff to wear proper personal protective equipment, routinely checking temperatures, isolating infected residents, quarantining the uninfected and conducting weekly testing (until two weeks pass without any new cases), Herbert said.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has reached out to facilities that have had outbreaks and offered PPE, staffing and laboratory resources, he said.

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