A Newton County man has died of COVID-19-related complications.
Larry Bergner, administrator of the Newton County Health Department, on Monday said the man had underlying health conditions and died of heart attack. After his death, his body was tested, and authorities confirmed he was infected by the virus.
"This individual has passed away and had other underlying medical issues that were exacerbated by COVID-19," the health department said in a news release about the death.
The health department is not releasing any identifying information about the man for privacy reasons, Bergner said.
The case is the 10th for Newton County, Bergner said. Seven of those residents have since recovered and have been released from self-isolation. One is still in isolation at home, and one is hospitalized.
Bergner said the department has monitored 29 contacts of those cases. Thirteen contacts have been released, and 16 are still being monitored.
Jasper County, Joplin
Joplin's health director, Dan Pekarek, said at a city briefing Monday there were no new Joplin city cases reported over the weekend. That health department has overseen seven cases; the most recent confirmed case was announced April 15. That person is still in isolation, he said. There are six who have recovered, he said.
The department has two people under quarantine who are being monitored because they had contact with someone who tested positive.
The Jasper County Health Department has had 15 confirmed cases.
"All of them have been taken out of isolation and there have been no deaths" of county residents due to the illness caused by the virus, according to the county health director, Tony Moehr.
Those who experience symptoms and are confirmed positive are asked to stay in isolation. Those who have been exposed but do not have symptoms or are confirmed positive are quarantined, Moehr said.
Paula Baker, president and CEO of Freeman Health System, said at a briefing on Monday that calls to the local COVID-19 call center by residents who wonder if they have symptoms of the illness continued to decline last week. She said there were 432 callers between Monday and Friday, less than half the number experienced previously.
"That's a great indicator that fewer and fewer people are experiencing symptoms they think are COVID," Baker said.
Mayor Gary Shaw on Monday commended essential businesses for the work to provide goods and services to residents during the local and state stay-at-home orders.
"I encourage you, though, again to practice our safe distancing procedures and use wisdom in all that we do," he said. "I know that we are anxious, but we must remain diligent in our efforts to be safe. We are getting closer to the finish line, but doing something crazy now can mess up the whole thing, and certainly we don't want to do something that will mess up what we have already accomplished."
Government officials including President Donald Trump, Gov. Mike Parson, and Joplin city administrators and the City Council are looking at what to do to reopen business "when the time is right," the mayor said. "We'll be looking to our health advisers to give us wisdom and when that time is right so we don't make a mistake and open too soon."
The mayor said it is likely that reopening will occur in stages.
Unemployment benefits are now available in Missouri to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers through a program created for them under the federal pandemic relief act, said Toby Teeter, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
The state of Missouri has built online applications for those workers to apply for benefits that are being provided as part of the federal CARES Act, he said Monday.
Those workers will be eligible for weekly benefits of between $133 and $320 plus $600 in federal benefits.
Claims can be filed online at www.labor.mo.gov.