COVID- 19 hits Clinton County
Weeks after Clinton County Emergency Management Director Blair Shock’s dire warning, Coronavirus has finally reached Cameron.
The Clinton County Health Department announced its first confirmed case of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and although not revealing the victim’s residence Shock did say the virus is circulating Cameron.
“Cameron Regional Medical Center has tested a large number of persons for COVID-19. In fact, they’ve tested more patients for COVID-19 than any other healthcare provider in Northwest Missouri,” Shock said. “That is accurate as of [Monday] evening and I suspect it’s still accurate. We definitely expect quite a few more cases. We suspect it is in the community in circulation now and we simply haven’t had enough testing to detect it. We believe all of this increased testing is going to give us a more accurate picture of community spread and result in more positive cases coming out of the Cameron area.”
According to a press release issued by the Clinton County Health Department over the weekend, the Clinton County Health Department was notified by a Healthcare Provider of a presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The affected party is a Male between 40 and 50 years of age, and a resident of Clinton County. The party is experiencing mild illness, and is recovering at home, under voluntary self-isolation.
The Clinton County Health Department is working with regional, state and federal partners in response to this presumptive positive case, and will continue to work to reduce the risk posed by this illness to the residents of Clinton County.
“Even though we haven’t identified every case in every town within the county, it’s in every town in the county. These social distancing measures are effective at preventing transmission from person to person if people will adopt them,” Shock said. “There is not going to be a more effective way of stopping it than that. We’re hitting the point now where if we don’t stop it, then we won’t stop it. We’re not going to stop it from coming into our communities at this point. It’s already here. Our goal is to slow its spread to the point our healthcare providers are not overwhelmed and not able to provide care to those who are the sickest.”
Shock credited the ongoing efforts of Cameron leaders with the school board announcing closures a more than a week ahead of a statewide order by Gov. Mike Parson. The city of Cameron recently announced closure of city hall while and restricting public access of city facilities. Monday, state officials enacted a ‘Stay at Home’ effective through April 6 - restricting gatherings of more than 10 people, dining inside any food establishment, mandating citizens work from home if possible and restricting access to long-term care facilities. Shock said regardless of the actions taken by local officials, with Cameron’s location along major highways such as I-35 and 36 Highway, there was no measure they could enact that would keep Coronavirus outside city limits.
“We weren’t going to stop it from coming here. We can’t just draw a line in the sand and keep people from crossing that line,” Shock said. “That’s part of everyday life. It’s a fact of our society … It’s here. It’s going to stay here for the time being and people need to take these social distancing measures seriously. Don’t panic. Panic does not help any of us and there are not anymore steps that can be taken other than abiding by these measures that are going to prevent or slow the spread of this illness.”
Shock also credited social distancing measures for keeping the virus’ spread from reaching levels currently experienced in Italy, Iran and China. He added Italy did not implement social distancing measures soon enough. With Italy having the second oldest population in the world and no social distancing measures in place, a Coronavirus outbreak sparked a powder keg of infections leading to nearly 7,000 deaths.
“It transfers easily from person to person and remains on hard surfaces for a long period of time,” Shock said. “… Society will eventually return to normal and I have no idea when. After this initial outbreak, when the majority who have contracted and recovered from this illness, I expect there to be sporadic outbreaks in different geographies throughout the world. The timeline, honestly, I haven’t a clue. We’re more concerned about the short-term future - what the next two weeks hold for us. The next two weeks will be make or break for if we can weather this storm.”