(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph city officials and health experts made a public plea Monday urging caution as Thanksgiving nears, sharing concern about the increasing COVID-19 death toll.
The St. Joseph Health Department reported six Buchanan County residents died due to the virus over the weekend. COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of 71 county residents since March.
Reading from his daily public health report, St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray said the latest deaths are shocking and heartbreaking.
“It’s hitting some younger people and it’s certainly hitting the elderly especially those with comorbidities. All of those had comorbidities according to the report,” he said. “If you have a condition such as diabetes or blood pressure and you get COVID, COVID just exacerbates that condition and could kill you.”
The health department spent Monday notifying contacts of more than 218 new individuals that tested positive since Friday. The weekend caseload brought the county’s confirmed cases up to 4,314 since March. According to previous KQ2 reporting, health departments across the region have said the onslaught of new cases this month has been overwhelming and exhausting.
In another part of town, Mosaic hospital staff cared for 78 patients hospitalized with the virus. Another 8 patients are hospitalized at Mosaic’s other two campuses in Maryville and Albany.
The Mayor said he hopes people consider the advice and experiences of local healthcare workers when they celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. He said he understands the temptation to want to get together but a little sacrifice is what is needed to save lives.
“This year we’re just going to have to give up a little bit so we can get through this virus because we don’t want any more people getting sick. We certainly don’t want more people dying,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control on Thursday issued new guidance that urged Americans to not travel during this Thanksgiving holiday and to consider canceling plans that would involve spending time with relatives and friends outside of their households.