COVID cases continue to climb, challenging contact tracers

Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

About 40 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Warren County in the past two weeks, with fewer than 30 people being added to the number of recoveries, according to the Warren County Health Department.

That brings the total number of active cases of the virus to 65 as of July 29, a high-water mark that continues to rise each week. Warren County also passed the milestone of 100 total cases in mid-July. A total of 138 local residents have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the outbreak, with 73 identified as recovered. There have been zero COVID-related deaths here.

Most of the growth in new cases has been in the Warrenton 63383 zip code, followed by the Wright City 63390 zip code, according to the health department.

The rising number of cases is a growing challenge for the small health department staff, especially with a growing number of people doing away with social distancing and engaging in group activities.

Whenever the health department is notified that someone tested positive for COVID, it’s the department’s job to get in touch with that person’s close contacts and warn them that they might have been exposed.

“Due to an increase in cases and a marked increase in the number of close contacts individuals are identifying (a result of more large gatherings and group activities), it may be several days before Warren County Health Department is able to identify and contact all those who were directly exposed,” the health department wrote on its Facebook page.

The department added this directive for the public: “If you believe that you have been directly exposed to a case and have not yet been contacted by the health department, please immediately begin to self-quarantine for 14 days from your last day of exposure.”

Those with questions should call the health department office at 636-456-7474.

Additional information shared by the health department is that some COVID patients who don’t develop severe illness may still experience lingering health effects for several weeks. This can be true even in younger patients with no pre-existing conditions.

Prevention remains the best defense against the virus. That means wearing a face mask in public, staying 6 feet away from people outside your immediate household, and washing hands frequently, the health department said.


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