Numbers vary in Franklin County COVID-19 cases reported

By Linda Trest, Staff Writer
Posted 4/22/20

Tuesday morning Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker released statistics for COVID-19 cases in Franklin County.

Brinker said four new cases had been discovered since Monday bringing the total of …

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Numbers vary in Franklin County COVID-19 cases reported

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Tuesday morning Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker released statistics for COVID-19 cases in Franklin County.

Brinker said four new cases had been discovered since Monday bringing the total of positive cases to 105. Ten people have died and according to Brinker, 34 have been confirmed to have recovered from the deadly virus.

Later Tuesday afternoon, The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released different numbers. They report 102 cases and five deaths in the county.

In a Facebook post, DHSS explains why numbers may not match perfectly:

Our goal is to provide you with a statewide statistical service. Each day, the team at the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services collects data directly from the Missouri State Public Laboratory and the private laboratories across the state.

They note that their data is the official record, but is preliminary and subject to change. County health departments may report local data as it is received, while DHSS must verify and investigate the data they obtain.

Brinker told The Republican that he became the official channel for communication with the declaration of emergency issued March 17. He said the numbers he shares are certified by the state.

In a Facebook post of his own, Brinker stated, “Franklin County will continue to choose freedom over fear. Our residents have responded incredibly when instructed to take preventive measures for the safety of themselves and others.”

Businesses and churches are expected to reopen, with some distancing and gathering limitations, May 4.

Earlier, Brinker had requested 50 tests kits from the state. He reports those were delivered and all were used for testing at Grandview, a nursing home in Washington from which the bulk of positive tests in the county have come. The vast majority of deaths have occurred at that location as well.

Many people would like to see reports on how many negative tests have been reported, but this number is not available.

When Brinker became the official channel for communication during the pandemic, the role of the Franklin County Health Department was shifted. They now only repost information from the DHSS. And the DHSS is not releasing information on negative test results. According to the Health Department, the DHSS’s system does not have the capacity for full reporting at this time. Perhaps, sometime in the future it might.

In fact, the director of DHSS, according to the Health Department, has cut the local health officials out of the loop when it comes to reporting the numbers.

Providers and labs typically report communicable disease cases directly to us on the local level,” the Health Department posted.

That changed with a state order on March 21, effectively bypassing the local reporting requirements. All results are now sent directly to the state. This order will remain in effect until May 15. This order was approved by the governor, according to the Health Department.

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