Missouri's COVID-19 death toll tops 10,000, including five reported this week in Boone County

From staff and wire reports
Brody Barker waves to his father, Daryl, from outside his hospital room in Osage Beach on July 26 as he recovers from COVID-19. The death toll from COVID-19 in Missouri has now topped 10,000. The state health department's coronavirus dashboard on Thursday showed 20 new deaths.

Missouri has reached the unfortunate marker of 10,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

The state health department's coronavirus dashboard reported 20 new deaths Thursday, bringing the total to 10,002. 

Across the nation, more than 615,000 Americans have died from the virus. Deaths and hospitalizations have continued to rise since the Delta variant has taken hold. 

Five additional deaths have been reported in Boone County this week, bringing the total to 128 since the start of the pandemic. 

The most recent local death, which occurred last Friday and was reported Wednesday, was a person between the ages of 75-80. A person between 25-29 died July 30. Other individuals were between the ages of 35-39, 40-44 and 60-64.

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that the county has 743 active cases of COVID-19, an increase of 80 new cases.

More:Columbia/Boone County health department pins focus on COVID-19 vaccinations amid Delta variant

There have been 21,849 total cases in the county.

There are 116 COVID-19 patients in Boone County hospitals, of which 21 are county residents; 38 are in intensive care units; and 16 are on ventilators.

State Rep. Sara Walsh has recovered from COVID-19 with a slight lingering cough, she wrote in a text to the Tribune on Thursday morning. Her husband, Steve, remains hospitalized with the virus, she said.

ICU space is operating at 17% in the state and 14% in the St. Louis area. Currently, 2,268 Missourians are hospitalized. The state's seven-day average sits at 2,013 confirmed cases. The state's dashboard showed 2,675 new cases Thursday. 

Despite relatively high vaccine numbers in Boone County, Missouri's initial vaccination rate is 10% behind the rest of the country.

More:Boone County COVID-19 vaccine tracker: 49% of people fully vaccinated

New cases are at their worst levels since the winter. Medical professionals say the difference between now and the winter is younger people are more vulnerable.

Conditions are troubling in the southwestern corner of the state portion of the state. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said Wednesday that 82 people have died between July 1 and Aug. 10 alone. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Missouri has counted 463 deaths over the past five weeks, even though COVID-19 deaths are often reported weeks after they occur as death certificates are analyzed. The state reported 220 deaths in the previous five-week period.

With the start of the school year approaching, districts across the state are determining how to handle the virus. Kansas City Public Schools will require all staff members to either get vaccinated or agree to weekly testing, the Kansas City Star reported.

More:Why the Columbia City Council rejected an emergency COVID-19 mask mandate ordinance

Officials said during a school board meeting Wednesday that they believe Kansas City is the first district in Missouri to issue such a requirement.

The Missouri State Fair opened Thursday and despite the expected large crowds, masks are not required. The fair, which runs through Aug. 22 in Sedalia, will have masks available for attendees.

The Tribune's Lauren Tronstad and The Associated Press contributed to this report.