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Audrain County COVID-19 incidence increases

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Editor’s note this article has been updated to reflect recent testing results.

There has been an upswing in COVID-19 cases in Audrain County.

In the space of a week the number of active cases has gone from two to 56. As of May 26 there have been no COVID-19 related deaths and one patient listed as totally recovered.

Sandra Hewlett, DHA, administrator of the Audrain County Health Department said the  majority of the 24 new cases, were associated with hog confinement farms located in western Audrain and Southern Monroe counties.

According to an Audrain County Health Department news release dated May 26, Audrain county is now the site of 56 active cases of COVID-19. None of them are travel-related, all are attributed to community transmission, there is one documented recovery and no deaths attributed to COVID-19.

COVID-19 testing will be available this weekend, Hewlett said in a news release, at the University of Missouri Hospital Drive-Thru in the Hearnes parking lot behind the MU football field. The hours are Friday, May 22, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. “A doctor’s order is not needed for testing.”

Hewlett said the owners of the two CAFOs, Brenneman Pork Farms of Washington, Iowa are committed to making sure that Audrain County residents and their employees remain their 1st priority”.

The two sites, Hewlett said, each employ between 28 and 30 people and the company has testing all of their employees.

Currently, she said, those who  have tested positive are isolating at home.

She said the hog farms now account for 50% of COVID-19 infections in the county, but the rest are unrelated to the hog farms and are in the community at large.

Ten individuals have recovered to date and more recoveries are expected this week.

Hewlett said people should not relax their vigilance and continue to practice CDC-recommended precautions such as:

• Wash your hands often,

• Avoid close contact

• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

• Cover coughs and sneezes

• Clean and disinfect

The virus, she said, can live airborne for up to two hours.

This is not going away, it is not over yet,” Hewlett said, “and protective measures are vital to keeping Audrain County residents safe.”

For more on this ongoing situation, visit www.firesideguard.com on Friday.