Apr 29, 2021 5:48 PM

St. Joseph health officials eyeing recent uptick in local COVID cases

Posted Apr 29, 2021 5:48 PM

By TOMMY REZAC

St. Joseph Post

Buchanan County has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, and this has health officials urging people to get vaccinated.

St. Joseph health officials report 34 new cases in the last two days - 14 Tuesday and 20 on Wednesday - the highest daily case totals in at least a month.

While the county’s positivity rate is just 2.8 percent over the last week, St. Joseph Health Department spokeswoman Stephanie Malita says they’re watching the numbers carefully.

"We'll see if people start to pay attention to these numbers and respond by getting vaccinated," she said."

Buchanan County’s case total now stands at 10,378. Officials also learned Wednesday of a previously unreported COVID-19 related death in the county. The victim was a woman in her 40s who died in February. The Buchanan County death toll now stands at 181.

 Over 16,000 people have initiated vaccination in Buchanan County for a vaccination rate of 18.5 percent - well behind the statewide rate of 37.1 percent.

"We would love to see our (vaccination) percentages a lot higher than they are at this rate," Malita said. "I'll be curious to see if the infection rates impact that, because we're starting to see those numbers go up again. We're having more positive test results. These are just the last couple of days, but these are trend lines that we watch."

While numerous pharmacies across St. Joseph are now offering the vaccine, Malita says a mass clinic at Civic Arena next week will provide a great opportunity for people to get a vaccine if they haven’t yet.

"Our hope is that we'll see a good response," Malita said, "and have people sign up and get vaccinated. If we have that, then we'll add more dates."

The clinic is set for Tuesday, May 4 with the second dose clinic slated for June 3. People can schedule an appointment by calling the St. Joseph Health Department at 816-271-4636, or by clicking this link.