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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

COVID-19 Cases Increase in Boone County Due to Delta Variant

COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout Missouri – especially in rural areas – largely due to the more infectious delta variant. So, what does this mean for Boone County residents?

Sara Humm, the public information Specialist for Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services, said there has been a noticeable uptick in COVID numbers in Boone County – going from just a few new cases reported each day to back into the double digits.

“Which is, of course, concerning to us, because we've been doing so well,” Humm said.

She said this is likely due to the presence of the more infectious delta variant in Boone County, as well as in the surrounding counties. According to datacollected by the Department, there were 179 cases of of Monday, June 28, 2021.

That number has now increased to 220 active COVID-19 cases.

Humm said when it comes to the hospitals, right now, the news is good. The current healthcare system capacity status is green – meaning area hospitals have the staff, materials, and resources to currently treat all COVID patients.

There are 48 people currently hospitalized in Boone County, but only three of those are Boone County residents. She said this is not particularly surprising, as many surrounding counties have lower vaccination rates.

“We do the best that we can in Boone County, but we can't control what happens around us in the other counties,” Humm said. “We obviously know that people from outside of Boone County come to Boone County to shop or to participate in activities or sports or whatever it may be, and so that can be difficult – because we don't know who's coming in or who, from Columbia or Boone County is traveling to somewhere else.”

We're focused on how can we reach people to break down those barriers and get vaccine to people who don't have access.
Sara Humm, Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services

Humm reminded people that the best way to keep themselves and their families safe is to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, and added that as the vaccination rate in Boone County nears 50 percent, the Health Department has shifted their focus — to community-based clinics,

“We're not focused on the volume of how many people can we get in in a single afternoon, we're focused on how can we reach people to break down those barriers and get vaccine to people who don't have access, or who have a harder time getting access,” Humm said. “Whether that be by geography, because they don't have a clinic near them, or by transportation issues.”

Humm said if you’re interested in getting a COVID vaccine – you can schedule an appointment or find a community vaccination event at www.como.gov/COVIDvaccine.

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.