Boone County Health Department prepares for rise in cases post holiday weekend

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COLUMBIA - The Boone County Health Department anticipates a surge in cases as many Missourians travel for the holiday weekend. 

“We’ve all seen the stories of what’s going on at Lake of the Ozarks this weekend,” Assistant Health Director Scott Clardy said. 

As of Sunday, Boone county recorded 3,398 cases. Additionally, The New York Times reported Columbia as having 1,436 new cases in the past two weeks. It also reported Missouri was one of the top 20 states where cases are increasing the fastest.

“We saw an appropriate amount of concern at the beginning of the pandemic but we’re not just seeing that now,” Clardy said.  

Clardy said the health department has brought on more staff. On Tuesday, five new employees will be trained for disease investigation or contact tracing. Right now, there’s nine employees and five volunteers assigned to contact tracing. With a two to 14 day incubation period, Clardy said Boone county won’t see an increase in cases right away. 

“I expect that we will be seeing any kind of impact of [labor day weekend cases] will probably start coming around the end of this coming week or so, maybe next weekend,” Clardy said.

Clardy emphasized the importance of isolating before getting your results. He said anyone who tests positive can expect a phone call from the health department within 4-5 days. Those who test positive must continue to isolate until they get a call. 

“We want [calls] to happen right away, but it’s not a reality right now, getting 100 to 200 cases a day,” Clardy said. 

Clardy suggests people start making a list of close contacts while they’re in isolation. 

“If they want to put themselves in danger, that’s one thing.” Clardy said. “When they do that and they automatically put other people in danger, that’s not what Columbia’s about.”

Clardy said in order to get caught up on calls, there needs to be a break in cases. 

“The issue is that we continue to see higher and higher numbers of cases, and even though we’re behind, we’re not falling any farther behind. To me that means we’re being more productive.”