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Cole County commissioners got an optimistic report on the county's COVID-19 efforts Tuesday.

Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said new cases of COVID-19 in the county continue to decrease from their peak in November.

"Last week, we had a high day of 34 positive cases reported and a low day of 16 cases," Campbell said during Tuesday's commission meeting. "Right around 20 positive cases are reported to us every day, currently."

The average number of COVID-19 cases at Jefferson City's two hospitals are low as well, she said. Capital Region Medical Center reported having six patients in its COVID-19 unit, and St. Mary's Hospital reported zero positive COVID-19 inpatients and three patients under investigation as of Tuesday.

"As a community we are doing very well, and we probably need to talk about when we want to roll back the advisory we issued, which is still in effect," Campbell said. "Our cases are very low, and I think we could be looking to do that later this month or March 1."

The county issued the advisory Nov. 12, asking people to stay home when sick, keep physical distance from others outside their household, limit gatherings to a number allowing for physical distancing, and wear a mask if physical distance can't be maintained.

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Commissioners and Campbell said they would talk with Jefferson City officials before any decision on a potential rollback of the advisory.

"As long as our positive cases continue to stay low and our vaccinations are going up, I think it's OK to roll that back," Campbell said. "I talked with the City Council at their meeting Monday night and told them that since last March we've had over 7,400 positive cases reported in Cole County, and in Cole County we have already given nearly 8,000 doses of vaccine."

The county Health Department's first COVID-19 vaccination clinic is planned for Friday at The Linc in Jefferson City, with an estimated 2,000 people to get the first of two doses of vaccine. The second dose is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Vaccinations at Friday's clinic will be given to people among the 6,000 Cole County residents who have already signed up with the Cole County Health Department for information about COVID-19 vaccines. This clinic will target county residents who are 65 and older or who are considered at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

"Staff from Central Bank Companies have been calling the residents who have previously registered, and I think out of the approximately 3,500 people they contacted they had around 1,000 tell them they had already received a vaccination," Campbell said. "That's why we continue to tell people to first try and get a vaccination appointment through their personal health care provider, if they have one."

Cole County residents who want to schedule a vaccination appointment can call the Cole County Health Department at 573-636-2181 if they do not have a primary care physician. The department's webpage will be updated so people will be able to sign up for vaccination appointments online, but the technology isn't in place yet, Campbell told the News Tribune last week.

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