COVID update

July 11, 2022

According to Barton County Health Department Administrator Joel Dermott, COVID cases continue to rise throughout the state. It was report that on the state’s dashboard, Southwest Missouri counties are either in the medium or high levels for new cases. Dermott said, “Compared to last week’s numbers, we are seeing some improvement. Hospitalizations are trending downward for consecutive weeks. The most important measure – deaths, remain at the lowest level we’ve seen since the early months of 2020”.

Dermott reported there are four variants of Omicron traversing the landscape. Symptoms remain consistent amongst all of them. Dermott stated that they are all highly contagious, fast moving and non-discriminating in whom they infect. Current vaccines are very limited in preventing infection and do not inhibit the transmission of these variants. Dermott added that they are helpful in lessoning the severity of the disease, but the are not a get out of jail free card.

“The bottom line is that COVID is here to stay” said Dermott, “and we must learn how to live with it. Those most adversely impacted by it are individuals who, regardless of age, have multiple comorbidities and/or are immunocompromised”. He did note that an upside to Omicron and its variants is that with the increase in cases, they are seeing widespread natural immunity taking a foothold. This immunity is not 100 percent for future variants, according to Dermott, but for those previously infected, one’s immune system is beginning to learn how to better respond to COVID. “When we couple that with more effective treatments and understanding of the disease, we will reach a point where we can better coexist with this bane of our existence,” said Dermott as he added, “Enjoy the summer, stay safe and God’s blessings to all.