Last week, more counties in the two regions moved toward red.
Nathan Koffarnus, assistant chief of disease control with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, sounded the alarm at last week’s meeting of the Missouri Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution.
“I’ve seen it brewing. I’ve been concerned about it for a couple of weeks now, and yesterday’s data update really kind of jumped off the page,” Koffarnus told the group, which includes members of health care organizations and advocacy groups. “It’s a pretty sizable jump in such a short period of time.”
Chariton, Grundy, Caldwell and Macon counties saw jumps in the north; while Greene, Webster, Laclede, Newton and the city of Joplin joined Polk and Taney counties with increasing cases in the southwest.
The southwest includes the state’s third-largest city of Springfield, as well as Joplin and Branson.
“The population in southwest Missouri is quite a bit higher than in north Missouri,” Koffarnus said. “When it hits here, it’s going to be worse, and I think it’s already happening.”
‘Get in front of this’
Greene County, which includes Springfield, reported 375 new cases in the past seven days — the most in the state. St. Louis city, with a population roughly the same as Greene County’s, had 74 new cases over the same period. Taney County, home to Branson, saw 88 new cases.