PARIS | Monroe Manor nursing home announced Sunday evening that the facility has a positive case of COVID-19.
Combined with four new cases reported on Friday by the Monroe County Health Department, there have been five new cases over three days in the county.
“We will be testing everyone this evening and tomorrow early morning. We are going to be suspending all outside visits at this time,” Monroe Manor posted on its Facebook page. “We are asking for your understanding at this time. We have worked very hard to keep this out of the building. Please don't call and ask us who is positive. We cannot reveal this information. At this time, our focus is to take care of the residents.”
Based on numbers provided by the Health Department, Monroe County has reported 17 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Four cases were reported on Friday. Seven cases are active.
“We will get on this the first thing Monday morning,” said Paula Delaney director of the Monroe County Health Department said of the Monroe Manor case on Sunday night.
Neighboring Ralls County, meanwhile, had a total of 21 cases, as of Sunday afternoon.
Shelby County, which is just to the north of Monroe County, had 28 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, an increase of 17 over the last seven days, according to the daily COVID Dashboard published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
Delaney said staff tracers for the Monroe County Health Department are conducting contact tracing, to determine who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus by those who were reported positive on Friday.
“As soon as we were notified by the state this morning (Friday), we started contacting the affected people and began contact tracing,” Delaney said. “We are not here 24/7, but as soon as the state makes contact, our work begins.”
Delaney added that the Health Department learned on Friday afternoon that one of the new positive cases is a person who visited Pleasant Green Baptist Church near Madison, Mo., on July 26, 2020, for Sunday morning services. Direct contacts were unable to be identified during contact tracing.
“If you were at Pleasant Green Baptist Church for Sunday morning services on Sunday, July 26, 2020, please monitor for symptoms until Aug. 9, 2020,” she said. “It is important to remember that anyone you come into contact with could be a potential carrier. Please take preventive measures at all times to help reduce the risk of contracting the virus.”
Delaney said that contact tracers try to determine where those who test positive have been over the last two days.
“We are asking where they have been to within six feet of someone else for at least 15 minutes,” Delaney said.
She said that when contact tracers find people who may have been exposed, they recommend an immediate quarantine of 14 days.
“There is no need to rush out and be tested because that can lead to negative results that can give a false sense of security,” she said. “They need to quarantine and watch out for symptoms of the virus.”
She said that people she sees in public and who call her office are growing weary of the COVID-19 pandemic and the precautions that are being recommended against the disease. The problem, said Delaney, is that rural communities are not immune to COVID-19.
Although Monroe County will not likely issue mandates on conduct or limit businesses, she said the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are important safety measures.
“There will not be a mandate, but it just makes sense to stay out of crowds, wash your hands with warm water and soap frequently and, if you can tolerate it, wear a mask,” she said.
Separately, the Ralls County Health Department warned of possible COVID-19 exposure at three community events:
º Center Park Days on July 24 and 25.
º Field 4 at the Bear Creek Ball Fields from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 25.
º A funeral visitation on July 27 and funeral service on July 28 at James O'Donnell Funeral Home.
Cases in Monroe and Ralls counties are a small fraction of the 51,840 cases reported in the state by DHSS, as of Sunday. That was an increase of more than 582 in one day.
The department reports that Missouri has 1,253 deaths attributed the coronavirus. No deaths were reported on Sunday. The department said that 889 people are now hospitalized in the state.