With 306 known active cases of COVID-19 in Howell County as of Thursday, West Plains city officials announced Friday that face coverings must be worn in city buildings.
City Administrator Tom Stehn said the city is requiring face coverings to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in the community, as well as protect the health and safety of its citizens and staff.
Disposable masks will be made available to anyone who does not have a face covering.
Community Services Director Todd Shanks explained that face coverings include cloth and disposable masks which cover the mouth and nose, or a face shield may be worn.
City-owned buildings include West Plains City Hall including the police department, the West Plains Civic Center, the Jimmie Carroll Sports Complex, the North Terra Golf Pro Shop, the West Plains Public Library, West Plains Animal Control, West Plains Regional Airport, all West Plains fire stations, and the Solid Waste Transfer Station and recycling facilities.
Passengers on city transit buses must also wear face masks.
Shanks added that all city employees interacting with the public without a protective barrier will also be required to wear masks or face shields.
In the last seven days, according to the Howell County Health Department’s Thursday report, 601 county residents have tested for the novel coronavirus and 256 of those tests, 42.6%, have returned positive.
At over 2% higher than the previous highest rate to date reported by the Quill on Wednesday, that is the highest positivity rate recorded since the Quill began tracking that number regularly in early September.
The overall positivity rate for the county, with 1,348 positive cases confirmed out of 9,940 tests is 13.56%, continuing an upward trend for the week.
Thursday’s report announced 27 new cases confirmed that day, the lowest such number to be confirmed since Sept. 25, when 19 cases were reported. No new deaths were reported, for the second day in a row; to date, 20 deaths in the county have been attributed to COVID-19 complications.
The number of active cases as of the latest report is 256, up from 275 reported on Monday, but down slightly from 259 reported one week ago.
The majority of the new cases are in West Plains and Willow Springs, with 11 and nine cases reported in the respective communities. The remaining seven cases in Mtn. View, four; Pomona, 2; and Koshkonong, 1.
Total COVID-19 cases: 152,571.
25,000+: St. Louis County.
10,000-19,999: Kansas City.
5,000-9,999: Boone, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Louis City.
1,000-4,999: Buchanan, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Christian, Clay, Cole, Franklin, Howell, Jasper, Johnson, Joplin, Laclede, Lincoln, McDonald, Newton, Pettis, Scott, St. Francois, Taney.
500-999: Audrain, Barry, Butler, Callaway, Cooper, Crawford, Dunklin, Lafayette, Lawrence, Livingston, Marion, Miller, Morgan, New Madrid, Nodaway, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Platte, Polk, Pulaski, Saline, Stoddard, Stone, Texas, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wright.
100-499: Adair, Andrew, Barton, Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Caldwell, Carroll, Carter, Cedar, Clinton, Dade, Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Douglas, Gasconade, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Madison, Maries, Mississippi, Moniteau, Monroe, Montgomery, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Ray, Ripley, Shannon, St. Clair, Ste. Genevieve, Sullivan, Vernon, Wayne.
50-99: Atchison, Chariton, Clark, Holt, Iron, Knox, Reynolds, Scotland, Shelby.
Under 50: Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Worth.
Total COVID-19 cases: 97,539.
10,000+: Washington, Pulaski.
1,000-4,999: Chicot, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Faulkner, Garland, Greene, Hot Spring, Independence, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Miller, Mississippi, Pope, Saline, Sebastian, Sevier, St. Francis, Union, White, Yell.
500-999: Arkansas, Baxter, Boone, Carroll, Columbia, Cross, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Lawrence, Logan, Phillips, Poinsett, Randolph.
100-499: Ashley, Bradley, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Cleveland, Conway, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Franklin, Fulton, Grant, Hempstead, Izard, Lafayette, Little River, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Polk, Prairie, Scott, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren.
Under 50: Calhoun.
Source: Local health departments and state COVID-19 dashboards.