COVID-19 cases continue to rise in county

Theo Tate

Eight months ago, Montgomery County had its first positive case of COVID-19.

Now, the county is seeing a large increase of cases as the year 2020 is coming down to its final months. 

There were 76 active cases out of 411 positive results with 17 deaths as of Nov. 13, according to the Montgomery County Health Department. In October, the county had 21 active cases out of 133 positive results.

“It has been extremely hectic at the health department, especially with the large increase in COVID cases we have seen recently,” MCHD administrator Laura Yelton said. “Our staff is working extremely hard and many extra hours to ensure every case of COVID is traced properly. On top of this, we have continued to provide all other services to our county citizens.”

A free COVID testing is scheduled for 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the Old Settlers Picnic Grounds in New Florence.

“The free testing planned at the picnic grounds in New Florence was set up in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services,” Yelton said. “They provide the staffing and supplies for this testing event. Our agency assisted with securing the site and helped with advertisement. This is a free service that does not require a doctor’s order.”

Montgomery County recorded its first positive case on March 25. By late August, the county had 54 positive cases and one death. After September, there were 10 active cases out of 110 positive results with two deaths.

Yelton said there’s a lot of work that goes into each case. Each close contact to each case has to be notified, evaluated and quarantined.

“This is very time consuming,” Yelton said. “I feel there has been an underestimation of how contagious this virus is in general. With school starting back up and activities including large amounts of people, we were bound to see an increase in our numbers.”

Yelton said since there will not be any vaccine available for the virus until probably early in 2021, she encourages county residents to continue to take precautions.

“Practice social distancing and wear a face mask or covering when you cannot adequately social distance,” the administrator said. “Be diligent with proper hand hygiene and frequent sanitization. Most importantly, stay home and limit contact with others if you are not feeling well. If you experience signs and symptoms of COVID, call your medical provider to be evaluated. Do not assume you just have a cold or allergies.”

 MCHD held a drive-thru flu clinic on Oct. 9.

“We administered around 200 flu vaccines that day within a 3.5-hour time period,” Yelton said. “I was very pleased with the turnout. I hope that eventually we would be able to do a similar type vaccination clinic when the COVID vaccine becomes available.”

The Montgomery County R-II and Wellsville-Middletown R-I school districts had to adapt to challenges of the pandemic. Recently, a R-II staff member was tested positive and quarantined several other staff members, forcing three schools in the district to be closed because there are no substitute teachers to take their places. In October, W-M Junior High School had a COVID-19 exposure.

“We all want to see the students have in-person instruction as we know that is the best in terms of education,” Yelton said. “Unfortunately, that has become quite a challenge with the increase in the number of COVID cases. I would encourage parents to keep kids home when they are not feeling good as this will help decrease the spread of the virus in schools.”

Yelton said if a rise in positive cases continue, there will be more school closures.

“The health department continues to work hard with all district schools to provide in-person learning for students,” she said. “At the same time, we also have to take health and safety into account.”

Yelton said there are no plans of having an all-mask advisory in the county. Audrain County, located north of Montgomery County, recently issued an all-mask advisory after noticing a spike of 50 positive cases in one week.

“We all need to do our part,” Yelton said. “Be responsible. Social distance, wear a mask when you cannot adequately social distance, wash your hands and limit interactions to less than 15 minutes. Everyone should do their part to protect themselves and others.”


Montgomery Standard

115 W. Third St.
PO Box 190
Montgomery City, MO 63361

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