Four-states counties see uptick in COVID-19 cases

As the temperature continues to increase, so do the number of COVID-19 cases in the four-states.

“From May 3rd to the first week of June we saw a 35 case uptick,” says Cherokee County Health Department Public Information Officer David Groves.

Now, as of June 14th, Cherokee County has 40 active cases. Crawford County also saw a 20 case increase at the beginning of June. Other counties in SEK have seen slight increases, but not as drastic (more numbers below).

The upward trends go across state lines as well.

“In Ottawa County there are 41 active cases currently,” says Taylor Thompson with District 4 of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Ottawa County saw a 70 case increase from May 13th to the begging of June.

But the biggest increases are seen when you cross into Southwest Missouri.

In Jasper County, there’s currently 89 active cases. That’s up from 9 cases on May 14th.

In Newton County, in around the same amount of time, the active case count went from 25 to 47.

In Joplin, there’s currently 70 active cases — up from six on May 14th. There are currently around 50 people hospitalized in Joplin hospitals because of the virus — not all of them are Joplin residents.

“The increase in the case numbers is cause for concern. We are keeping a close watch on it,” explains Ryan Talken with the Joplin Health Department.

The big question is why. Officials say a few different things could each be playing a part in the increase.

“We did see a little bit of a break (from new cases) and that may have created some sense of security,” says Groves.

“There’s the potential for the case rates to go up due to various variants that have been reported,” says Talken. “I think the important thing to note is that vaccines still remain effective.”

Now, it’s not all bad news. The active case count for some counties, including Barton and Vernon Counties in Missouri and Labette and Neosho Counties in Kansas, are in the low single digits. And in Wilson County, Kansas they’ve gone 10 days without a single active case. But, officials say if you haven’t been vaccinated against the virus, there’s no time like the present.

“If numbers continue to climb we don’t want to take a step back and move back into restrictions and things like that. And the more people we can get vaccinated the less likely that is to happen,” says Thompson.

We also reached out to the McDonald County Health Department, the SEK Multi County Health Department, and Montgomery County Health Department to try and get numbers, but the administrators at each department were unavailable at the time.