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County death toll rises as officials strive to vaccinate

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Five more Webster County residents have succumbed to COVID-19 with most recent statistics marking a tally of 85 deaths since the start of the pandemic. As of Monday, there were 25 citizens of Webster County hospitalized in Springfield due to the virus. 

“On July 27 we were still showing 100% Delta variant, according to the Aug. 1 sewer shed sampling,” explained Webster County Health Unit Administrator Scott Allen. “The vaccine is keeping people from getting sick to the point that they’re dying and it really is buying us some time… Unfortunately, there are still a lot of folks on the fence when it comes to the shot.”

According to the health unit, current Webster County vaccination rate is 32% – though the goal is to reach 70% in the county. Within the next few weeks, it’s expected that the current vaccines are going to get full approval from the FDA.

“The vaccine was designed to keep people from dying and to help keep people from getting COVID… It was not designed to build a bubble around you and guarantee you won’t get COVID,” he explained. 

While Webster County continues to fight COVID-19, the health unit works to make vaccines available each day of the week. In August, testing continues everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Marshfield office. Vaccine appointments can also be made daily at the Marshfield Clinic, and the health unit can refer anyone in Webster County to the closest vaccination location. In addition to this, the health unit offers home visits for residents who cannot make it to the office as well as offsite vaccine clinics to businesses, churches, civic organizations, etc. 

“We just need people to get vaccinated. This won’t go away otherwise… the state just brought in five ambulance strike teams to help with transport of patients and local hospitalizations are really only going down because these teams are taking hundreds of patients to hospitals in other areas so those patients aren’t being counted in local statistics because they’re not in our hospitals,” he said. “When you look at those numbers, if we would have had to keep all those people here… that would have been crippling.”

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there have been 4,940 positive cases with 4,670 recovered 192 hospitalizations and a death toll of 85, up five this week. To see full Webster County COVID-19 statistics, visit this article at www.marshfieldmail.com. For more information on COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, contact the Webster County Health Unit at (417) 859-2532.

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