The Nodaway County Health Department announced May 2 that all 98 tests from an April 28 mass testing returned negative, a statistic health department administrator Tom Patterson said may provide a positive outlook for the community.
According to Patterson, the tests were encouraged by the state to provide improved surveillance data for government referencing. Accurate localized data is one of four parts outlined in Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s “Show Me Strong” plan for reopening.
“The biggest takeaway is the community is practicing social distancing and personal hygiene and this will help to keep COVID-19 at bay,” Patterson said.
Though the testing pool was small in relation to the 22,092 county population, Patterson said the data is enough to provide a gateway to what local health officials and municipal governments are reaching toward — a path to normalcy.
“The outlook can be positive if we continue to be aware of risk factors and take precautions to prevent the spread of disease, from individuals to organizations,” Patterson said.
Maryville released a fifth emergency order April 30 allowing for businesses to reopen regular operations, with some restrictions, beginning May 4. The city council made this decision based on preliminary results from the April 28 testing provided to them by the NCHD.
City Manager Greg McDanel said the statewide order is considered a minimum baseline and that federal guidance was stronger on a few fronts.
“Council took elements from each,” McDanel said in an email. “Social distancing is working (4 total cases) which provided council confidence in keeping the social gathering limits as a mandate.”
McDanel also said that in his nearly twenty years of experience in local government, drafting emergency orders during the pandemic and providing necessary guidance has been the most difficult task for elected officials.
“In many ways, lack of clarity or guidance from the federal and state government has put local officials on the frontlines of substantial public health decisions,” McDanel said in an email. “I’m very proud of our staff and city council.”
McDanel said he anticipates the most recent emergency order will remain in place for a significant amount of time to allow for “swift decision making without an abundance of formal procedures.”