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Expected post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge has arrived in Greene County

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 5:42 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The ebb and flow of COVID-19 is bothersome and frustrating but the battle continues.

With more family gatherings and travel, health officials were expecting a post-Thanksgiving surge in cases and that has happened in Greene County.

According to data provided by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the seven-day rolling average was 36 cases per-day at the end of October. That increased to 58 per-day by the end of November and this week that number rose to 84 new cases per-day.

“That’s a significant increase of 71 percent over the past seven days,” said Aaron Schekorra, the health department’s Public Information Administrator. “It’s definitely a concern for our community that COVID-19 has started to spread again and with more holidays coming up we need to be conscious of the increase in cases that could cause burdens on our healthcare system.”

During the month of November 6,439 Greene County residents got their first vaccinations, double the numbers from October. Part of the reason for that increase was the emergency approval for children ages 5-11 as more than a thousand youngsters got their shots at a one-day event on November 20th.

However, more than half of Greene County’s children and adults are still not vaccinated.

“And that is why the health department is offering $50 gift cards to all those who get their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Schekorra pointed out. “Those getting boosters are not eligible for that but we encourage people to get their boosters here (at the health department’s vaccination clinic on Battlefield Road) as well. You’ll be able to get that $50 gift card from among a choice of different stores in our area (which includes Walmart, Target and Walgreens).”

Studies show that people who are not vaccinated are five times more likely to get COVID and 29 times more likely to be hospitalized and that breakthrough cases where vaccinated people still contract the illness tend to fall into certain categories.

“Those are going to be individuals who are over the age of 65 or have immune suppressing conditions like diabetes,” said Kendra Findley, the health department’s Community Health Administrator. “It can also be people with kidney, lung or heart disease or somebody who is considered obese or morbidly obese. Those are the people we’re concerned about and we suggest that you still get your vaccine but take those extra measures as well like masks, social distancing and staying at home.”

And since it is a busy time of year with a number of different types of shots available like COVID, flu and shingles, which one should you prioritize?

“If you haven’t received the COVID vaccine that’s priority number one,” said Dr. Robin Trotman, an Infectious Disease Specialist with CoxHealth. “Then wait until you feel a little better and get your flu vaccine next and you can put that shingles vaccine in-between any of those if you want to. There’s no evidence that getting that flu vaccine seven days after you’ve gotten your COVID vaccine is going to blunt your immune response.”

Here is a rundown of the information supplied by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department in their news release:

“The Health Department continues to encourage residents to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 remains the best way to protect oneself and others from getting sick with COVID-19. You can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment by visiting vaccine417.com.

If residents have already been vaccinated, it is now strongly recommended to receive a booster 6 months after becoming fully vaccinated. Individuals 18 and up have the choice between Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, or Moderna boosters for continued protection against COVID-19. For Johnson & Johnson, it is recommended adults wait at least two months post-immunization to receive a booster.

The COVID-19 Call Center is currently taking appointments for testing and vaccinations. Appointments can be booked online at vaccine417.com, or by calling (417) 874-1211.

Data for Nov. 1 - 30

Number of new COVID-19 cases:

  • 1,403 compared to 1,310 in October

Difference in seven-day average:

  • The 7-day average on Nov. 30 was 57.6, up from the Nov. 1 average of 35.4

Difference in hospitalizations:

  • 91 individuals were treated for COVID-19 in Springfield hospitals on 11/30, up from 55 on Nov. 1.

COVID-19 deaths:

4 deaths occurred in the month of November compared to 13 deaths in October

*This number represents confirmed COVID-19 deaths that occurred in November. This number could change based on delayed reports.

Average age of death: 74.37 (all deaths), 61.25 (November deaths)

Number of vaccine doses administered among Greene County residents:

  • Residents who became partially vaccinated in November: 6,439 (3,939 in October)
  • Residents who became fully vaccinated in November: 4,364 (4,220 in October)
  • Total doses administered (all doses including boosters): 24,166 (16,593 in October)

Current data

Number of hospitalizations:

  • 91 hospitalizations
  • 31 are Greene County residents

Number of Greene County residents unvaccinated:

  • 51% of Greene County residents 5 and older are not fully vaccinated.
  • According to the CDC, 37% of Americans 5+ are not fully vaccinated.”

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