COLUMBIA - The current health order in Columbia expires Thursday and with new daily cases trending down local officials are trying to decide what to do next. 

The city has extended or modified each ordinance ever since its initial passing back in June of 2020.

“One of the things we look at is what we can do that are small steps to keep ourselves safe," Public Information Specialist for the Columbia/Boone County Health Department Sara Humm said. "Those are social distancing, hand washing, wearing masks.”

It has been one year since the first person in the U.S. died due to COVID-19. Since then, cities across the country have passed health orders hoping to fight against the spread of the disease.

Columbia's battle to slow the spread and go back to some level of normalcy has been ongoing for the past year. The current ordinance has been extended 12 times since its initial date with each order in affect for three weeks.

Other cities like Fulton recently voted not to extend its mask ordinance.

Fulton's mask mandate ended on Feb. 21. When the mandate went into affect last December, Callaway County saw a decrease in daily COVID-19 cases. The COVID-19 dashboard for the city of Fulton has not been updated since the expiration of the mask mandate on Feb. 21.

The current health order for Columbia is set to expire on March 4 at 11:59 p.m.

Boone county has seen a drop in daily positive COVID-19 cases since the initial city ordinance.

As of Feb. 26, there were 11 new positive cases, which is lower when comparing to cases last fall.

“Our case numbers of positive COVID cases is still pretty low," Humm said. "Especially compared to where we were in the fall, things are looking pretty good."

The weight of this difficult decision is felt within the community. Humm is especially concerned given past trends we have seen.

“What we don’t want to do is lift all restrictions and immediately have a spike," Humm said.

The health department will decide later this week whether to extend the health order or make modifications.

The last time the order was modified, it extended how late bars and restaurants can stay open. 

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