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University of Missouri COVID surge continues

By Roger McKinney Columbia Daily Tribune

The University of Missouri reported another 173 COVID-19 infections among students and began reporting recent cases among staff and faculty on Monday.

The updated figures, with 549 total cases, represent a 46 percent increase in student cases since the last update on Friday.

The additional cases came after Boone County recorded its three worst days for new coronavirus infections, with a record 131 cases on Saturday, followed by 82 on Sunday and 85 more on Monday.

During August, 888 of Boone County's 1,440 new COVID-19 cases were among people under 25.

"Going back, one of the things we predicted is we would see an increase in number as 30,000 people came into our community this month and another increase two to three weeks after that," said Scott Clardy, assistant director of the Columbia-Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department. "I think we will continue to see this as we continue the incubation period."

MU, which had been planning weekly updates of its COVID dashboard, will now update it daily, spokesman Christian Basi wrote in an email.

There have been 22 cases among university staff and four among faculty. Of those numbers, 18 staff cases and two faculty cases were active as of Monday.

Monday's student total includes 415 active cases and 134 who have recovered.

University officials were looking for ways to improve the dashboard, Basi said.

Boone County ended August with 2,614 total cases confirmed since the pandemic arrived in mid-March. During the month, Boone County averaged 46.5 cases per day – almost doubling the 25.7 per day in July – and three deaths, bringing the total to seven.

On Monday afternoon, the county was at its highest numbers yet for people in isolation or quarantine, with 1,599 either active cases in isolation or in quarantine for possible exposure. The county also had its highest number of people hospitalized since the pandemic began, with 15 residents being treated as COVID-19 inpatients.

State figures

Missouri added another 1,042 cases of COVID-19 to its tally Monday, part of a surge that during August put the state among the 15 with the most per capita infections during the month.

There were only nine days in August on which the state did not record at least 1,000 new cases, and the average number of cases per day, 1,108, exceeded the previous high, set in July, by more than 180 per day.

Missouri reported 34,374 cases of coronavirus in August and 287 deaths. The deaths per day average of 9.26 was up from July but below the peak of 14.29 set in May.

During August, every one of the state's 117 local health jurisdictions recorded at least four new cases, with the largest numbers in the state's urban centers of St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia.

The counties with the highest per capita rates of new infections were mainly rural, including six counties with 25,000 or fewer people. The highest rate was in New Madrid County in southeast Missouri, where 1.4 percent of the population tested positive for the coronavirus in August.

Other student cases

Missouri State University in Springfield said it had 383 confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the second week of classes that ended Friday, more than double the 141 reported the week after classes started Aug. 17, The Springfield News Leader reported.

The overwhelming majority of the cases were students. About 20 percent of the latest confirmed cases live on campus and the rest live off campus, said David Hall, director of university safety.