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Boone County reports 6th death, record inpatient COVID cases

Rudi Keller
rkeller@columbiatribune.com
Silverball bar, 122 S. Ninth St., closed Saturday night after city health inspectors found several violations of COVID-19 health orders.

The daily count of new COVID-19 cases declined for a third day in Boone County but the county recorded its sixth death and more people hospitalized that any other time during the pandemic.

The 38 people being treated in Boone County hospitals is seven more than the previous high, reported Friday. There were 11 county residents among that number, also a new high, as was the 15 people being treated in intensive care.

The county also set a new high for the number of people with active cases or in quarantine because of possible exposure, with 1,194 total in isolation. The 31 new cases reported Monday brought the total to 1,995 since the first was reported in March.

The sixth death was an individual who was over 80 years old, the Columbia-Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department stated on Twitter.

Over the weekend, health inspectors had more trouble with a business catering to college students when they found a downtown Columbia bar exceeding occupancy limits.

On Saturday evening, hours after shutting down the swimming pool at Brookside Midtown, inspectors found several violations at Silverball, a game arcade that serves alcohol.

In an email, Scott Clardy, assistant director of the department, wrote that there were patrons not wearing masks, carrying drinks through the establishment, standing for bar service and not social distancing.

In addition, he wrote, the bar had allowed more than 100 people inside.

The current health department order for Columbia prohibits standing service at a bar or counter in eating and drinking establishments, requires patrons to be seated when not entering or exiting or using a restroom and to wear a mask while not at a table.

The order limits the number of patrons in any business open to the public to 50 percent of the rated capacity as established by the fire marshal or 100 people, whichever is less.

The mask ordinance passed July 6 by the Columbia City Council requires masks in all public or private situations, indoors or outdoors, where people are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance.

After being notified of the violations Saturday, Clardy wrote, the bar closed.

“We asked them to reduce occupancy to 100, and at that point, they made the decision to close instead, so they chose to close – we did not order them closed,” Clardy wrote. “We are preparing Notices of Violation that will be sent to the prosecuting attorney.”

STATE SITUATION

Missouri reported 869 new coronavirus infections on Monday, which became the first time the state has reported two consecutive days with fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases since July 19 and 20.

The state reported 818 new infections on Sunday. The average for last week was 1,122.9 new infections per day.

There was at least one new case in 87 of the state’s 117 local health department jurisdictions. There were no additional deaths reported.

Since the first case in early March, Missouri has reported 75,944 COVID-19 infections and 1,426 deaths.

MORGUE CLOSED

A temporary St. Louis County morgue that opened in April to help care for bodies of coronavirus victims is shutting down, county officials said Monday.

St. Louis County has been hit harder than any other area of Missouri in terms of COVID-19 confirmed cases and death. As of Monday, the county has reported 17,425 confirmed cases, and nearly half – 703 out of 1,426 – of the state’s deaths.

The temporary morgue known as the "Dignified Transfer Center" opened April 21 inside a refrigerated warehouse and was meant to serve COVID-19 victims from St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin counties. It was capable of holding up to 1,300 bodies, but just 57 were kept there.

A news release from St. Louis County said the temporary morgue opened after regional health system leaders proposed it due to "the challenges other regions faced with overrun morgues. In other regions, those challenges led to mass graves and the stockpiling of the bodies of deceased individuals."

Things never got that bad in the St. Louis region. The county did not release the cost of the temporary morgue but said it was less than originally projected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Silverball bar, 122 S. Ninth St., closed Saturday night after city health inspectors found several violations of COVID-19 health orders.