Hannibal Courier-Post

Mayor Hark expected rise in COVID-19 cases

By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Jul. 15, 2020 10:52 am

HANNIBAL | As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb in Marion County, one person who is not surprised by the almost daily increase is Hannibal Mayor James Hark.

“I anticipated seeing an increase in the number of cases due to the increased number of tests being done,” he said. “I haven't been able to compile a lot of percentages as far as the amount of tests versus the infectious rate, whether it is actually climbing or if it is maintaining.”

There is one significant coronavirus category that is showing improvement, according to Hark.

“Some of the most recent data that I have seen shows the mortality rate is actually less than it had been in the beginning so I am encouraged that maybe it is not as potent as it was before,” he said.

Hark stresses that people should continue to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from the COVID- 19 virus.

“There is still concern of infection,” he said. “I think people should well be concerned as far as maintaining good health hygiene habits. If you're sick avoid other people. If you are in an at-risk group, where you have a compromised immune system, you should probably take precautions the same as you would with any other virus or bacterial infection.”

While in many areas of the country the wearing of masks when outdoors is being mandated, Hark is not considering such a mandate in Hannibal.

“At this point I haven't made a determination if we need to be any more strict than what the governor has put out for us,” he said. “I figure they (state officials) have a lot more resources than we do. Until such time as the governor makes a declarative statement or the department of health comes out and instructs us to take more precautions, I am banking that we have leaders in those positions who are a lot more versed in the health situation than I am to guide us through this.”

Hark is confident that Hannibal's business community will do everything necessary to protect its employees and customers from the coronavirus.

“There is a disinfection cleaning process (to follow) if you have an employee that tests positive, but to my knowledge we haven't had any businesses with employees that have tested positive that would require a shut down for either cleaning or disinfection,” Hark said.