Hot Spot Infograph

Nodaway County has been labeled a hot spot for the coronavirus by multiple national research entities. Maryville, after speaking with health professionals, plans to wait before taking any further action.

According to the New York Times, Nodaway County is one of several localities seeing a high rate of coronavirus cases. City officials said they expected this kind of increase as the school year began.

Ben Lipiec, mayor of Maryville, said he was knowledgeable about the county’s status since earlier in the week. The topic was discussed with the city manager, local health officials at the Nodaway County Health Department, Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville and the local school districts.

“We knew previous to students returning that chances were that we would see an increase of cases,” Lipiec said.

Lipiec said this was one of the reasons the city passed the mask ordinance in July.

Although the mask ordinance was in place, it did not stop students returning to the University from arriving at party scenes across Maryville maskless the weekend before classes officially began.

Gerald Wilmes, medical director of the Wellness Center, explained what the term "hot spot" is and how it is used.

"We don't tend to use those terms," Wilmes said. "We use terms like, 'yes it has gone up."

Wilmes clarified that the term hot spot is a layman's term that is not used by most medical professionals. Since many people outside of the medical field are using the term, it has been adopted by many to explain the increase in cases per a certain amount of a population.

Administrator of Nodaway County Health Department, Tom Patterson said it is obvious that there has been a shift the demographics the virus infects.

"There was a shift in demographics in the disease this summer to a younger age group," Patterson said.

Patterson referenced the 20 year old to 30 year old age group that is being effected in mass by the coronavirus.

Business Insider listed Northwest among universities nationwide with the most number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began affecting the U.S. In the Sept. 2 article, Business Insider showed that compared to larger Midwest universities, Northwest has less overall COVID-19 cases, with 312 since April. 

At the same time, the University of Kansas had 474 cases, the University of Missouri had 614 cases, and University of Iowa had the most coronavirus cases since April with 935.

As of Sept. 6, according to the Northwest COVID-19 data, there are 85 students who currently are in quarantine or isolation due to testing positive.

Lipiec said there are many coronavirus hot spots all over America, acknowledging Maryville’s hotspot as just one of many.

Lipiec said he feels that the community he grew up in is doing all that it can to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It doesn’t change anything about how I feel about Maryville, knowing that we are a hotspot,” Lipiec said.

Lipiec said he expects Nodaway County’s status as a hotspot to cause one of two reactions among townspeople.

First, that they may become more worried about the spread of the virus and may take mitigation efforts more seriously, and second, that people will continue to live out their lives as normally as they can.

“It’s just the chance they take and it’s the chance they are taking to continue to move on and try to establish a new normal,” Lipiec said.

Despite the county’s status, Lipiec said he does not believe the city can take any more preventative measures at this time. He said he hopes that as people social distance and make conscious decisions when they are in public that the county will see a peak in cases and then work on flattening the curve.

Wilmes also said there is not much else for the University to do other than to continue what they are already doing. He said the key is to carry on enforcing the importance of mitigation as the semester progresses.

"This is by far the most important thing I can say in this interview and any other," Wilmes said. "Try to keep communicating and convincing people of the value of mitigation."

In a Northwest Missourian article, Greg McDanel, city manager, also said the best option for the city is to wait. He addressed that the number of cases change daily and the best way to handle this conInstant change is to wait and see what happens.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation website on COVID-19 state data and policy actions to address coronavirus, all states labeled as hot spots are listed along with their current actions regarding the virus. The website shows that all but 15 states are labeled as coronavirus hot spots.

Iowa is one of the many states listed as a hot spot. The website states that Iowa has reopened and is allowing all businesses to reopen, not just essential businesses.

Nebraska will be proceeding with reopening, but will retain a mandatory quarantine for international travelers while neither Missouri or Iowa require mandatory quarantines for any form of traveler.

Kansas has also reopened with mandatory quarantines for travelers from certain states. 

Missouri and Kansas also are allowing for the reopening of all businesses, including nonessential business.


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