MARYVILLE, Mo. — As COVID-19 case numbers in Nodaway County have skyrocketed over the past month, the age of those testing positive has skewed younger, leading to more contacts to trace and more exposure.
“Two factors driving case numbers right now are younger cases with larger social networks and more testing,” said Tom Patterson, Nodaway County Health Department administrator. “This reflects what you see statewide with (a) shift from older to younger average case age and increased testing available.”
Online data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services backs that up, showing that the five-year age range with the highest number of positive COVID-19 tests is ages 20-24, followed by 25-29, 30-34 and 35-39, in that order.
Those age groups tend to be more active and have larger social circles than the older age groups that had been the primary drivers of positive tests early on, especially in Nodaway County.
Since last week’s update, the total number of positive cases in the county has jumped from 79 to 135 — a jump of more than 70 percent that puts the county among those with the fastest growing case count in the state, as it has been for much of July.
County health officials have already repeatedly voiced their concerns over what the numbers may do when college students return in earnest to Northwest Missouri State University for the fall semester, and that factored partially into the city of Maryville’s decision last week to mandate masks in most public areas.
If you are not contacted by a health official, then you are not considered a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
The health department urges the public to practice social distancing by maintaining six (6) feet of separation, to limit in-person interactions and to practice to good handwashing and hygiene.
If sick, particularly with a fever and a cough, or shortness of breath, the health department suggests calling a health care provider before visiting for guidance regarding symptoms and next steps.