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Clinton County coronavirus case could be instance of community spread, health official said

The case involves a man between 40 and 50 years old. The Clinton County Health Department said he started showing symptoms last week and was tested for coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 23, 2020 5:43 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 12:49 PM

(CLINTON COUNTY, Mo.) A Clinton County resident who tested positive for coronavirus might be an instance of community spread, health officials said.

The case involves a man between 40 and 50 years old. The Clinton County Health Department said he started showing symptoms last week and was tested for coronavirus. The results came back positive from a private lab on Sunday.

His symptoms have remained minor and he is self-quarantining at home. But health officials are concerned because the patient had not been traveling.

"He was infected by an unknown source within the community," said Clinton County Health Department Administrator. "We have not been able to trace it to a known case. It's very likely he became ill by contacting it in the community."

According to the CDC community spread means the virus begins moving through a community and the "source of the infection is unknown."

"It just confirms what we suspected that this illness is in our community and in circulation," Shock said. "We've had such limited testing up to this point we haven't been able to survey how widespread the illness is and we expect to see many more positives in the coming days as more testing results become available."

Health officials said social distancing is just as necessary in rural community as it is in the bigger cities.

"What we've been reinforcing with the public is if it's not in our community now it will be shortly," Shock said. "Assume it's here and put into place the social distancing within yourself and for your family because that is the only way we are going to protect ourselves, protect our families and the people vulnerable to this illness."

Shock said increased access to testing is still a challenge and additional coronavirus patients needing hospital care will stress both urban rural healthcare providers.

"I know the public's frustrated, we're frustrated and obviously healthcare practitioners are frustrated with the limited quantity of testing made available at this point," Shock said.

As of Monday afternoon, Missouri has more than 180 positive cases.

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