COVID-19 cases rapidly on the rise in Cass County, health department says

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HARRISIONVILLE, Mo. — The Cass County Health Department is the latest health department to fire a warning shot about COVID’s major resurgence. Cases are on the rise like in many other places in Missouri.

A little over a month ago Cass County reported 16 total cases, giving folks a level of comfort that the vaccine was available and the pandemic was heading towards over, but then the numbers started to rapidly go the other way. Two weeks ago, it jumped to 95 cases and last week, the Cass County Health Department reported 120 new cases of COVID-19.

“We have not seen that level of cases, since you know, back at the early part of this year,” said Cass County Health Director Andrew Warlen.

Cass County’s case count is approaching pre vaccine levels, which is concerning to health officials.

“We’re not quite there yet, knock on wood, unfortunately,” Warlen said. “But you look at the trend, at least for the past couple of weeks and that does seem to be where we’re going. Almost all these cases, particularly our most ill individuals, they are all people that are not vaccinated.”

While cases are going up in Cass County, so are vaccination rates. In the first few months the vaccine was available, Cass County was vaccinating between 600 to 900 people per day in its drive through clinics. On average, that’s 100 per hour.

“We did 113 vaccine doses last week,” Warlen said. “So that equates to about just a little over an hour of what we would have been doing in March. When you’re looking at, yes, those numbers are going up but they’re not going up nearly as fast as the cases are going up.”

Health experts say with previous COVID-19 variants, one person spreads it to 2 to 3 people, but one person infected with the delta variant infects 6 to 8 people on average. The mutated virus is also more invasive and deadly.

Warlen believes the rise in vaccinations is because of media coverage of the delta variant and because people have seen first-hand what it is doing to friends and family and friends who are also unvaccinated.

“I have an option to get vaccinated and not have to go through what cousin Billy has gone through,” Warlen said. “And I think that’s really a great incentive.”

Vaccines are now available every day at the Cass County Health Department and The county is working with schools, libraries and faith based organizations to vaccinate all who want it.

This week’s vaccine clinics:

Wednesday, July 21 – Cass County Public Library – Northern Resource Center, 3 p.m.- 5 p.m. (Belton)

Friday, July 23 – Judy’s Tanning Salon, 10 a.m.- noon (Peculiar)

Friday, July 30 – Kids Kountry, 3 p.m.- 5 p.m. (Peculiar)

Saturday, August 14 – Peculiar Lions Club, 10 a.m. – noon (Peculiar)

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