A Randolph County COVID-19 patient, who had been hospitalized since July 6, died Wednesday.
In a statement issued Thursday morning, the Randolph County Health Department said that the death was coronavirus-related, but Randolph County Coroner Don Barrett said that while the patient had COVID-19, the death was not necessarily caused by the virus.
"[The patient] tested positive for COVID, but the doctor that I talked to, who was treating him, said he died from pulmonary embolism," Barrett said. "Which is basically a blood clot. ....COVID may have been a contributing factor, but [the doctor] would not say that for certain."
The patient’s name will not be published at this time out of respect for their family.
There also were three new cases confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon, bringing the county’s total to 11 active cases. There have been 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Randolph County since the start of the pandemic.
Two cases resulted in hospitalizations. Twelve patients have recovered from COVID-19, according to the health department.
Though cases in Randolph County still are relatively low compared to larger cities like St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia, the spike in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks is concerning, Deputy Health Administrator Craig Parsons said.
"I think this just goes to show just how quickly things can change," he said. "I just hope it’s kind of a wake-up call to people who have been relaxed or not taking this seriously."
Though some businesses and individuals have done well to practice social distancing, the hope is that more people will begin to wear masks now that cases are on the rise again, Parsons said.
"I’ve seen a lot of people still doing the social distancing and trying to maintain that six feet," he said. "I’ve seen a few more people with masks when I go out, but not quite as many as I would like to see."
Parsons referenced Walmart’s company-wide decision to require customers to wear masks, which will begin Monday. Though there has not been a city or county-wide mandate requiring masks in public spaces, Parsons said the health department still is trying to encourage businesses and individuals to wear masks whenever social distancing is not possible.
"I know we don’t have a [mask] mandate right now, but we’re really trying to encourage that the best we can," he said. "Ultimately, that is up to each individual and business as to how they want to deal with it."
Last week, the health department opened a drive-thru testing clinic which had tested 131 people as Wednesday afternoon. So far, all but one test has come back negative. That test, along with three others, had to be re-administered because of processing errors, Parsons said. The results likely will be available by Saturday, he said.