More COVID-19 Deaths in LawCo; Few Cases in Dade
By James McNary
While Dade County continues to have only a handful of active cases of COVID-19, neighboring Lawrence County had a rough first full week of September, with 3 deaths and almost 60 additional cases confirmed as of Sept. 11.
The Lawrence County Health Department confirmed 17 new cases Sept. 8, 24 new cases on Sept. 10, and another 17 new cases on Sept. 11. The third death of a Lawrence County resident from COVID-19, an individual in their 60s, was confirmed on Sept. 8, followed by the deaths of another two individuals in their 80s on Sept. 10.
“We would love to see our current positive numbers go down and that will not happen unless we all take [preventive] action to protect ourselves and others,” the LCHD stated in a Facebook post on Sept. 11.
Lawrence County currently has 52 confirmed active cases of COVID-19, with 434 total confirmed cases since the outbreak began earlier this.
The additional deaths in Lawrence County came in the same week as one of the area’s dominant healthcare systems mourned the loss of one of their own.
CoxHealth, which operates hospitals and clinics throughout the area as well as Dade County ambulances, announced that a medical assistant at one of their Branson facilities, Marie Brumbaugh, 40, had contracted COVID-19 and died from the illness.
“We deeply mourn the loss of our colleague and friend, and offer our love and support to her family and loved ones. A scholarship and support fund has been established for Marie’s daughter at the CoxHealth Foundation …,” said Steve Edwards, the presidents and CEO of CoxHealth. “This is a somber time in our family at CoxHealth, and this loss is a realization of our greatest fear. We pray that it will serve as a reminder to our community of the seriousness of this disease.”
In Dade County, there are currently five active cases, with 32 now recovered. Health Department Administrator Pamela Allen said that she feels Dade County is handling the COVID-19 situation quite well considering the number of cases affecting surrounding counties, noting that, so far, no cases tied to county school systems or nursing homes have been confirmed.
“I’m proud of how we have handled this as a county - I stay in close contact with our school and nursing homes and those in the community about the latest developments with this virus,” said Allen. “We have to take this seriously, but at the same time, life has to go on.”
While there have been some reports of “asymptomatic carriers,” Allen said that most of those have still lost, at least partially of their senses of taste and smell - one of the telltale signs of Coronavirus infection. Allen said that infected Dade County residents have done their part and remained at home as soon as they became aware they were infected.
Allen said that various entities, such as the schools and nursing homes, as well as he department, have plans in place in case the situation does get worse, but that she sincerely hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“We still need to keep the preventive measures in place: this is a virus and we need to treat it like that,” said Allen. “The political posturing may go away after the election, but the virus won’t.”
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