Thanksgiving holiday COVID numbers are in

Newton County Health Dept
©KOAM News

NEOSHO, Mo. – We’re nearly two weeks past the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and Coronavirus case numbers for that time are starting to come in.

Those numbers are exactly what local health officials expected, they are up, compared to the last few weeks. We saw increases in nearly every county in our area. According to data from the Missouri and Kansas state health agency websites, Joplin saw 47 new cases, Jasper County saw 74 new cases, Newton County saw 19, and Crawford County saw 97 new cases, though their data is from a slightly more open period than Missouri.

We spoke with Newton County Health Department Administrator Larry Bergner about cases in his county. “We are at a point now where we have 123 active cases in Newton County, the day before Thanksgiving we had 62, so certainly we have seen almost a doubling of the number of active cases since Thanksgiving holiday.”

Larry Bergner says he’s looking forward to the day when the Coronavirus is no longer severe and just becomes something like the flu. Until that time, he’s keeping a close eye on trends and numbers in his county and the surrounding area, doing what he can to stop the spread. The Thanksgiving holiday was a time he knew numbers would go up, but, he says despite the increase, vaccines seem to be keeping the virus in check. “And because of that immunization and those who have had COVID and have recovered and have that natural immunity, those symptoms are much less severe and so I’m very hopeful that will continue to where those who get COVID, the symptoms will be mild and they can recover at home as opposed to having to seek out medical attention.”

Additionally, the number of PCR tests increased significantly. In Jasper County, on Sunday the 28th, there were 94 PCR COVID tests, that number jumped to 200 by Monday. Newton County saw a similar increase, going from 44 on Sunday, to 112 on Monday. “I think as people enjoyed the holiday, the Thanksgiving holiday and now come back to going to work and their normal routine, if they start feeling a little bit ill, they’re more apt to go get tested and we do see also, when we get a spike in our daily cases, I do notice a trend that we’ll see also a spike in our testing numbers.”

Despite the increase, Bergner says there is hope on the horizon, as he looks at numbers compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday. “Last year, November 24th, the day before Thanksgiving we had actually had 454 active cases, this year we have 62, so, even though we’ve seen an increase in the numbers around the Thanksgiving holidays, they’re nowhere near where we were last year.”

Bergner says he’s hopeful that people getting vaccinated, and just natural immunity from those who have been sick, will also reduce the future strain on our local hospitals. And of course, he continues to urge everyone who’s eligible to get vaccinated, or to get a booster shot, to do so as soon as possible.