Numbers from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services show an increase of 98 cases in Webster County’s running total of COVID-19 cases this week.

In the Sept. 9 edition of The Mail, the running total of cases since the beginning of the pandemic was 299, and today the DHSS has the county total at 397 on its online COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated multiple times per day.

The Webster County Health Unit has recorded a much lower running total of 323.

The county gets its numbers from DHSS, but not always in a timely fashion.

“They can be behind,” said Terre Banks, the nurse-administrator of the Webster County Health Unit.

She added that the information they send to the individual units take some time to confirm, and sometimes they are mistakenly attributed to a jurisdiction.

"It takes a little bit of time to get that switched back," she said. "These numbers will need be a true match."

Banks attributes the surge in cases to schools reopening. “We kind of felt that when the schools opened that we were going to see another big surge about this time, and that's what we're seeing," she said.

The virus seems to be spreading through group gatherings, schools and household contacts, Banks said, rather than through travel.

There have now been three deaths in Webster County. When asked for demographic details, such as age, Banks said simply, "No."

"A death is an unfortunate thing, but at this point in time it doesn’t make it better by knowing," she said.

When asked if institutions, such as nursing homes, are partially responsible for the rise in numbers, Banks said that there are three skilled nursing facilities that have positive cases in some residents and staff. One is located Rogersville and two are in Marshfield. She did not provide the facilities’ names.

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