Covid-19

Media Release

For Immediate Release: 4/1/22
Chris Gilliam, Howell County Health Dept.
Governor Parsons announced yesterday that effective Friday, April 1, 2022, Missouri will be transitioning
to the next phase of the COVID-19 recovery. In response, Health Department Director, Chris Gilliam
announced that beginning today, the manner in which the health department conducts its surveillance and
reporting activities will significantly change.
The Governor’s recent announcement stated that in terms of Missouri’s response, COVID-19 is now
considered an endemic disease. Gilliam warns, “This is not to say that COVID-19 illness should no
longer be a concern, especially for the immunocompromised.” Adding, “The term endemic simply means
that COVID is now considered to be a constant presence within our population or geographic area.
COVID-19 hasn’t simply gone away, or is it ever likely to do so. In simplest terms, the health department
will now respond to COVID reports much as we do influenza cases in terms of monitoring and
reporting.”
We are now entering a new phase of the COVID-19 response as vaccines, tests and treatments are readily
available and much of our population has some immunity to the virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is
expected to continue to circulate in our communities and, therefore, will be considered endemic in the
United States. The endemicity also means that surveillance priority will change from monitoring case
numbers to aggregate reporting.
In terms of the immediate and observable changes that can be expected, beginning in April, include:
 Missouri Dashboard report frequency will decrease from daily to weekly
 State’s Case Data Publication of 7-day totals will only be published weekly
 Contact tracing will be conducted locally only for vulnerable populations. Instead, surveillance
will be focused on disease severity and societal impact
 Vaccine, Testing & Therapeutics will continue as long as federal resources persist, but will shift
to traditional health care delivery over time
Surveillance of key metrics will help us remain vigilant and return to an emergency response state if
necessary. The transition of COVID-19 to an endemic disease is not a declaration of the end of the
pandemic and does not minimize the continued importance of public health surveillance, investigation
and response activities.
Gilliam stated that he sincerely appreciates the support the department has received by so many in the
community over the last two years and points out that as a result of the transition, the Howell County
Health Department will no longer provide a COVID-19 daily reports. However, individuals will still be
able to go to https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/data/public-
health/health-metrics/county.php or https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/ for COVID-19 data.

 

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