While a great deal of media attention recently has been devoted to the climbing total of Covid-19 deaths nationwide, which surpassed 500,000 earlier this week, a rising death total has not been the trend more locally.
The Perry County Health Department has not listed a Covid-19 related death in its last 17 reporting cycles, dating back to Jan. 8, when there were a reported six Covid deaths, bringing the county’s total since the pandemic began from 26 to 32.
The total number of active cases as of Feb. 22 was 26 and the health department has reported an active caseload of less than 40 for the past month.
While the total of reported cases climbed above 2,000 in mid-December, the county has not been above 250 active cases since before Thanksgiving.
The Perry County Health Department provides Covid-19 updates two to three times per week, giving updates on the number of cases. There have been fewer than 50 active cases in the county since the Jan. 18 report, which showed 45 active cases. This was also the first time the county’s Covid-19 alert level dropped from “moderately high” to “moderate.” It has remained at “moderate” since that time, a total of 35 days.
The county had been at a “high” alert since early fall, and remained so until the Dec. 21 report, which modified the alert level to “moderately high” and 114 active cases. The last time the health department reported a total of more than 100 cases was Dec. 28, with a tally of 103.
The county’s health department teamed up with Perry County Memorial Hospital for a Covid-19 vaccine clinic at the Perry Park Center. Doses of the Pfizer vaccine were provided in late January as well as Feb. 19. In addition, another clinic took place at Trinity Lutheran School gym in Altenburg. The Moderna vaccine was given Feb. 12 for those signed up for that event.
An estimated 13.4 percent of Perry County residents (2,571 of 19,136) have received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to state of Missouri statistics, which is tied for 23rd highest along with Audrain County among the state’s 114 counties, just behind Pettis (13.6 percent) and Livingston (13.5 percent) counties. Shelby (21 percent) and Atkinson (20 percent) report the highest total of those who have received a first dose of the vaccine, with nearby Cape Girardeau County (17.4 percent) tied with Gasconade County with the fourth highest percent of the population to receive the first dose. Just two counties in the state are below five percent in terms of those who have received a first vaccine.
As of Feb. 23, a total of 4,058 Covid vaccine doses have been administered while there have been a reported 1,479 who have received a second vaccine dose. The county’s seven-day count for vaccines administered is 763, which ranks 26th.
The county’s health department has been encouraging residents that qualify to get a Covid-19 vaccine. When the vaccine is available, the county is taking appointments. In addition, through it’s Facebook page, the county has been steering residents toward other vaccination events, such as in Bollinger and Ste. Genevieve counties.