Officials from the Franklin County Health Department confirmed Franklin County’s first positive case of COVID-19 on Monday and three more quickly followed.
As of press time Tuesday, the total of Franklin County cases was at four and is expected to climb as more testing is conducted.
The first patient, a female in her 50s, is currently at home in isolation, and has been since onset of symptoms.
Public health officials are conducting an investigation of this case, speaking with individuals who the patient may have come into contact with before the confirmed diagnosis.
Method of transmission is still being investigated. The health department has had full cooperation and assistance from the patient and will continue to be in contact as necessary.
Also on Monday, the Lonedell School District sent a letter to parents and staff stating a person directly associated with the district has been diagnosed with the virus.
The letter from Superintendent Jenny Ulrich said the district is providing more information to individuals who may have had direct contact with the patient. The school district also is restructuring its food service and delivery to ensure the safety of each member of the school community.
“This is not the time for panic or blame,” Ulrich said in the letter. “It is a time to be cautious, to comply with the most careful hygiene practices, and to support each other.”
On Tuesday, three other COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Franklin County as well.
Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said the cases were all male, ages 86, 48 and 65.
Brinker added he did not have any geographical information on where the male patients live, but did confirm their testing was done at an independent lab, but he did not know where their test swab samples were taken.
Brinker and the health department expect more cases to be confirmed locally as the number of citizens tested increases.
As more cases are confirmed, public health officials are limited in the amount of personal health information they can release to the media and the public at large.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
Likewise, when case counts are small and limited to one community, any information which could further identify a patient is withheld to protect their privacy and safety.
The Missourian is reporting all information it receives directly from Franklin County and other official sources.
If information is limited, it is done in the interest of the privacy of those people affected.
When a patient is diagnosed, the case is counted in the county of the patient’s residence.
Residents with questions about COVID-19, including symptoms, may call the Franklin County Health Department at 636-583-7300, or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 24-hour hotline at 1-877-435-8411.