Boone County reports record cases, full COVID ICU beds


The Boone County Health Dept. reported another record high for weekly cases, tallying 531 cases the week ending Dec. 18 (the department’s reporting week ends on Friday).

The week prior, the BCHD reported 500 new COVID-19 cases, which was a record at the time.

As of Dec. 21, Boone County Health Officer Dr. Herschell Servies said during a county commissioners meeting that all sixteen of Witham’s initial COVID-19 ICU beds were full, but the hospital planned to add more in other wings of the hospital. The hospital also recently purchased more ventilators.

Another death was reported in a long-term care facility the week ending Dec. 18, bringing the county’s total COVID-19 deaths to 60, of which 54 have occurred in long-term care facilities.

The county’s positivity rate, which previously registered as less than 15 percent, rose to 16.07 percent. The state’s color-coded county map classifies counties with a positivity rate of more than 15 percent as red. When combined with the county’s cases per 100,000 residents, Boone County will be classified as a red county if its positivity rate is more than 15 percent for a second consecutive week, meaning social gatherings would be limited to 25 people.

“I know we’re past that window, the two-weeks after Thanksgiving window, and I guess it would make sense for those who became positive after Thanksgiving to be spreading the illness to others as well,” BCHD Public Health Educator Claire Haughton said.

Haughton said the department is advising residents to stay home during the remainder of the holiday season and New Years, when families and friends typically gather indoors to celebrate. If travel is essential, Haughton advised people travel by car as opposed to flying.

“We’re just really trying to discourage anybody going into large crowds,” Haughton said. “We want to discourage those gatherings for New Years, as well.”

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