(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The ongoing climb in Covid cases in Buchanan county continues and now one of the nation's top public health officials is warning that Missouri and six other states are teetering on a knife's edge as Labor day weekend arrives.
The battle against Covid-19 continues as Buchanan county sees an uptick in coronavirus cases.
"The community is open, people are out and about, there are community events, school started, college has started, sports have started and it's just in the community as a whole,” Connie Wener of the St. Joseph Health Department said.
Buchanan county has added more than 150 cases since last Thursday and four more deaths just days apart. All while local hospitalizations threaten to unseat peak records set earlier in the pandemic.
“We were able to hire contact tracers whose sole job is to do the contact tracing to do the contacts to do the cases and to do follow ups and so they have just been very busy,” Werner said. “From the time they get there until the time leave they are making phone calls."
As for the timing, we have that little thing called Labor day.
“Any social gathering where you’re not having that social distancing, where there's not masks. We've just shown that it causes an increase in cases," Werner said.
The troubling trend is happening all across Missouri prompting one of the country’s top infectious disease experts to warn Missourians and residents of six other states to be careful this holiday weekend.
"We don't want to see a repeat of the surges that we have seen following the holiday weekends,” Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “That doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in a room.”
Adding that if we are careless a surge of cases will follow and that threatens schools and business wishing to stay open.
“Particularly as we go on the other side of Labor day and into the fall, we want to go into that with a running start in the right direction,” Fauci said. “We don’t want to go in to that with another surge that we have to turn around again.”
Local public health experts are also urging caution, asking us to do what we can to protect our community.
“It's the same that it has been, it's just not what anyone wants to hear,” Werner said.”So I want everyone to see their family but we still have Covid in the community so my advice hasn't changed, my guidance hasn't changed.”
Wash our hands, social distance, avoid gatherings, and wear a mask.
Due to the natural lag in reporting and the incubation period for the virus, public health experts say it will be weeks before we see the effects, if any, from this weekend.