(PLATTSBURG, Mo.) Officials in rural northwest Missouri are voicing their concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in their community.
With challenges such as sparse locations and limited resources, rural health officials are planning for a tough winter season ahead.
Parts of rural northwest Missouri are starting to feel the effects of COVID-19 so says the director of the Clinton County Health Department.
“Sometime about mid August we started to see an increase, and then in the last two or three weeks we've seen just an incredible increase in the number of cases,” Blair Shock the director of the Clinton County Health Department said.
Shock says he's concerned about rural hospital capacity over the next few months as we make our way into flu season, and of course still dealing with COVID-19.
“Not every county has a hospital, the rural hospitals that we do have have a limited bed capacity and they have a limited capacity of higher acuity care,” Shock said.
In Clinton county alone, the health department reports over 350 cases of COVID-19, 68 of which the department says are active.
They have reported 22 hospitalizations and 3 deaths in the county.
Those three deaths were reported in the last week and while the health director says the virus is spreading within long term care facilities in the county, it's not exclusive to those places or people within their age groups.
“Even those cases that aren't coming in from long term care, a large majority of them are folks 55 plus, up in the age range where we really start to get concerned,” Shock said.
He stresses the importance of everyone taking the virus seriously to protect the vulnerable, control the spread and prevent deaths.
“I get very frustrated when certain folks in the public want to say ‘well, they were old’ just because you're old doesn't mean you should pass away from a preventable illness,” Shock said. “An illness doesn't care about your politics, anybody's susceptible and this is us as a society having to deal with it."
Clinton county's health director also says the impact of the pandemic is starting to affect rural hospitals on whether they're treating COVID-19 patients or not.