COVID Graphic

After steadily declining throughout late September and into mid-October, COVID-19 cases have increased now for two weeks in a row.

There were 176 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Franklin County from Nov. 6-11, according to an update from the Franklin County Health Department.

That’s an increase from last week, when there were 129 new cases. The week before that, there were 112 new cases. To date, there have been 13,174 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County with an additional 3,366 cases listed as probable.

The health department reported no new deaths this week. The confirmed death toll from the virus in the county stands at 214 with an additional 35 deaths listed as probable.

The positivity rate — the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — was 10.8 percent this week. That’s also higher than last week, when that number was 8.4 percent.

One person is hospitalized and in isolation for COVID-19 from the county. That is the same number as last week.

“I can’t say I’m extremely concerned,” said Dr. Ann-Elizabeth Mohart, chief medical officer at Mercy Hospital Washington, about the increase. “I think what’s even more important is to look at the bigger picture.”

Although she doesn’t want to dismiss the increase, Mohart said that unless she sees a “dramatic, dramatic increase,” she considers this fluctuation normal. She attributes the increase to the colder winter weather keeping people indoors, where the virus has been shown to spread more.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 50.6 percent of Franklin County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 46.9 percent have been fully vaccinated against the virus. Statewide, 56.1 percent of Missourians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 49.9 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to DHSS.

Additionally, many Franklin County residents are receiving booster shots. According to DHSS, 4,694 Franklin County residents received a booster in October, and so far, from the start of this month through Nov. 9, the most recent data available, 1,691 boosters have been given.

Mohart said that’s in line with what Mercy has seen. These are people with health conditions that put them at higher risk for serious complications should they contract COVID-19 or with jobs that put them in high-risk environments. Mohart said a lot of these people have been very eager to get that additional shot.

She expects this spike to level out soon and for there to be a steady increase in the number of people getting their boosters.