News Briefs

Missouri exceeds 5,000 COVID-19 deaths as vaccine rollout continues

By: - December 22, 2020 10:01 am

The deaths data, which the department calls “probable” COVID-19 fatalities, is being added eight months after the department began reporting antigen-identified infections in its daily report (image courtesy of CDC).

Missouri surpassed 5,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday when the state Department of Health and Senior Services added 211 new fatalities, including 140 from a weekly review of death certificates.

The state has now endured 5,158 deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic. The weekly review of deaths to link them to case reports, which normally is completed each Monday, will stretch into Tuesday, the department stated in an email.

Due to a higher than average volume of records to review, the team has not yet completed this process for the week,” the email from department spokeswoman Lisa Cox stated.

The weekly reviews, which began in October, have added more than 1,000 deaths to the state count that were not included in initial case reports. At the start of October, the Missouri death rate was about 57 percent of the national rate and with the adjustment on Tuesday it is above 85 percent of the national rate.

Missouri has recorded 84 deaths per 100,000 residents, while the national rate is about 95 per 100,000 residents. The highest death rate, at more than 200 per 100,000 residents, is in New Jersey.

The largest number of deaths, 1,197 by the state count, have occurred in St. Louis County, which has the state’s largest population. The highest death rate, 260 per 100,000, is in Clinton County, which has 53 deaths among its 20,387 people.

There has been at least one death in each of the state’s 117 local health jurisdictions  

In her email, Cox noted that state and local death numbers do not always agree. 

“At the state level, we are not currently reporting probable or pending deaths,” Cox wrote. “There are some instances when these deaths are reported out by local public health departments, but the information is not reported by DHSS until confirmed in our disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.”

The department reported 2,123 new coronavirus infections Tuesday and the seven-day average of reported cases continued to fall. With fewer than 3,000 new cases on seven of the past 10 days, the average is 2,867 per day, down from a peak of 4,722 per day on Nov. 20.

Hospitalizations remain high, with the department reporting 2,703 inpatient cases as of Saturday, down slightly from previous days but above any date prior to Nov. 16.

In other COVID-19 news, CVS announced it will begin delivering the Moderna vaccine next week to residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Missouri. The pharmacy chain stated it will vaccinate 4 million residents and staff at 40,000 facilities, including 100,000 in Missouri.

CVS will send teams to each facility three times to make sure residents and staff receive their initial shot and the booster required three to four week later.

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Rudi Keller
Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller covers the state budget and the legislature. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he spent 22 of his 32 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics for the Columbia Daily Tribune, where he won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.