A grim milestone was reached Monday when the Joplin Health Department reported four additional deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the city's total to 100.

The Joplin residents were two women, ages 65 and 98, and two men, ages 71 and 81, officials said.

Jasper County passed the 100 mark on Dec. 29 and now has recorded 110 deaths. In addition to Joplin's and Jasper County's totals, Newton County officials have reported 68 deaths. Altogether, the Joplin metro area has reported 278 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began in March.

The first two virus-related deaths in Joplin occurred June 26, involving two female residents at Spring River Christian Village. The 25th death was recorded on Sept. 28, the 50th death on Nov. 13, and the 90th death two days before the end of 2020.

In a release, officials reminded Joplin area residents to continue to take federally recommended actions to help slow the spread, including wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing, washing hands and getting a flu shot.

COVID-19 has killed nearly 6,500 Missouri residents and 385,000 Americans since March. Worldwide, the virus has killed 1.95 million people.

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