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New cases linked to Mashburn

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Mashburn Residential Learning Center, Bolivar

While the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Polk County continues to climb, tied largely to a local residential facility, other statistics show possible signs of improvement. 

According to numbers released by the Polk County Health Center on Tuesday, July 28, the county now has 197 total reported cases. 

That’s an increase of 35 cases since Friday, July 24. 

The majority of those cases — 25 confirmed on Tuesday, July 28 — are connected to ongoing testing at Mashburn Residential Learning Center in Bolivar. 

That’s the second highest report of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county since the health center announced 34 new cases on Thursday, July 16. 

Everyone who may have come into contact with the 25 new cases at Mashburn Residential while they were infectious have been notified and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms by the Polk County Health Center contact tracing staff, a news release said.  

Mashburn Residential is working in cooperation with the Polk County Health Center, Ozark Community Health Center and the Missouri Department of Mental Health to provide testing for all clients and staff. 

This is an ongoing process every seven days, the release said.

“It should be expected there will be additional cases with ongoing testing,” Michelle Morris, health center administrator, said in the release. “The testing allows the center to continually assess the virus activity and work to contain the virus. 

Morris said the health center appreciates the efforts administration at Mashburn Residential has made to contain the further spread of COVID-19. 

“The increase of PPE supplies for the staff and isolation of residents and staff should result in limited spread in coming weeks,” Morris said.

The release said the center has been closed to the public since March, including limited visits from health care providers. 

Parents and guardians have been notified, the release said, and those individuals who have tested positive are quarantined away from the remaining population of clients. 

The release said staff members who have tested positive will remain in isolation and monitored by the county health department where they reside, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other numbers

Despite a jump in confirmed cases, the number of active cases in Polk County has dropped since last week. 

The center reported 70 total active cases Tuesday, July 28, down 37 cases from 107 on Friday.  

The number of Polk County residents in quarantine also showed improvement. 

On Tuesday, 266 people were in quarantine, per the health center. 

That number dropped from 350 people reported in quarantine on Friday, July 24. 

“We are thankful so many are able to be released from quarantine,” health center community educator and public information officer Carol Bookhout said.

There have been no COVID-19 related deaths reported in Polk County as of press time Tuesday. 

For more information on current cases and safety tips, visit the Polk County Health Center website at polkcountyhealthcenter.org

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