By Clay Coleman
MEXICO—As Missouri recovers from the holiday weekend after making national headlines when partygoers disregarded social distancing rules at a Lake of the Ozark resort, COVID-19 cases in the state continue to rise, climbing to 12,291 cases and 686 deaths.
Audrain County, which has come off relatively unscathed during the pandemic with two confirmed cases, had more than a 150 percent increase within the last week alone. Currently, the county has 56 active cases.
“There was an outbreak at two different sow farms near the towns of Thompson and Paris,” said Audrain County Health Department officer Sandra Hewlett during a phone interview. “Over half of those infected live in Mexico.”
But Hewlett’s office is only just getting started once an Audrain County resident tests positive for COVID-19.
“Once we’ve identified someone who’s tested positive, they are immediately isolated,” said Hewlett. “Next, we trace everyone the individual came into contact within the last 72 hours. If we believe they are high risk, we will issue an order of quarantine.”
An order of quarantine confines an individual to their residence for 10 days. The order can only be lifted after the individual shows no signs and symptoms and is not taking any medications for the virus.
“This virus is not going away,” said Hewlett. “Hand washing, staying at home, these are the simplest, yet best defense for COVID-19.”