By KCHD Administrator Lori Moots-Clair
Knox County, MO – August 6, 2021 – Knox County Health Department was notified that the Delta Variant was typed in a previous Knox County COVID-19 positive case. The health department had been acting as if Delta were the prominent strain circulating since July as it was confirmed in counties all around.
The way we approach Delta is no different, we just know that it is more viral, and transmission is greater. It replicates more quickly in the body, and it spreads with less effort to more people.
We have noticed this locally. We are seeing households where it moves through everyone regardless of isolation in the home. Last fall and winter, children and adults would self-isolate in bedrooms with their own bathrooms and others in the house would avoid getting it.
That has not been the circumstance this time around, from our experience.
We don’t know what the variant means to vaccinated individuals, but we are seeing a few breakthrough cases in vaccinated people. For vaccinated people, mild symptoms are reported with no serious illness or hospitalization to date.
Our local experience has been that we’ve seen both vaccinated and previous COVID patients get COVID a second time. The vaccinated have been reporting milder cases. The second timers have been reporting greater symptoms.
I emphasize that these are local reports on a small scale, and that the information should not be seen as comprehensive significantly researched data applied to the public.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported late in July that individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should begin to mask in large groups or indoor activities to have a better chance of avoiding the changing virus.
Locally, we at the Knox County Health Department has been encouraging this for high-risk individuals since the full return to activity without masking in May 2021.
After 25 years in public health, one thing we know about viruses that are circulating is that they will change.
We have seen these changes happen with influenza, the vaccine is created based on what is occurring in another hemisphere during flu season. Sometimes it’s a hit, and in an off-year where the flu virus has changed too much, we see more breakthrough with the vaccine.
It is expected that the virus will continue to change if it has a significant opportunity to spread, and, with it being new, updates and changes in opinion will occur.
At the end of the day, the important thing in our community is to protect those that are high risk, and there are many ways for us to do that.
The health department continues to encourage all residents to talk with their trusted health care providers about what their path should be regarding vaccination, masking, coping with disease, and in any situation where there is emergent medical need to report to the nearest hospital emergency room.
My main concern continues to be that residents will suffer needlessly before seeking help for various reasons, and that should always be discouraged. The health department’s goal is to see the community physically, mentally, spiritually and socially healthy—and there is a way to work toward this from whatever perspective our citizen’s have about COVID-19.
Testing supply inventory is nearly depleted at the health department. Here is the breakdown of testing we’ve done recently: School Kits (supplied by DESE for students/faculty of KCR-1 ONLY) 43 tests; Home Health kits (supplied by MDHSS for home health clients/staff ONLY) 46 and Community Kits (supplied by MDHSS for symptomatic residents or registered quarantined individuals for a seven-day test out ONLY) 10.
The health department will now only be doing testing on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. for the public until the community kits are gone, and will work with the school district to develop a plan for use of their assigned tests.
We recognize testing may be needed at other times and recommend the following:
For symptomatic individuals, contact your healthcare provider or seek testing at an area urgent care.
If you have emergent need, present to any area hospital ER.
The other option, for those who are just curious but not at the point they want to be seen by a healthcare provider, is to have a friend purchase and drop off at-a-distance an over-the-counter test, which can be purchased at most pharmacies and Walmart.
Finally, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is offering a mailed to resident’s kit. To participate in this, go to the following website: https://picturegenetics.com/ covid19?c=MOPROMO.
The health department continues to make vaccine available. Call for further details (660)397- 3396 or follow the department https://www. facebook.com/kchdhomehealth.