By Dennis Minich
Last week, the Missouri National Guard working along with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Cass County Health Department, conducted about 650 COVID-19 tests during drive through testing at the West Peculiar Fire Department facility near Ray-Pec High School.
As of Monday, only two positive tests were reported and they came from the same person. It was a case the local health department was already aware of.
The testing came on the last weekend of state mandated restrictions because on Tuesday morning, all state Coronavirus restrictions were removed and every county is now allowed to establish its own policies.
“We really aren’t changing our policies,” Cass County Health Department Director Andrew Warlen said. “I don’t know we will ever live in a normal mode, but now it will be up to people to take care of themselves instead of orders being written.”
Among the new normal, restrictions will be removed from restaurants including reopening of buffets.
“We do want buffets to have frequent cleaning of high-touch areas,” Warlen said. “You have to remember everything you touch has been touched by everybody else.”
Other restrictions have also been eased allowing playgounds and other recreational facilities to be reopened. Limitations on the size of gatherings has also been eliminated.
Through Sunday, the county has had 107 cases of the virus, including eight deaths. Of the cases, 32 were reported in Harrisonville, 24 in Belton and 15 each in Pleasant Hill and Raymore.
While the restrictions are easing, Warlen said everyone should remain vigilant.
“The virus has not gone away. Until we develop a herd immunity through a vaccine or people having it, it will continue to be a problem. COVID-19 has not left the building,” Warlen said.
While no formal guidelines are in place, Warlen encouraged people to continue to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention: stay home if you feel sick; if you have to sneeze or cough, do it into your elbow; keep six feet apart, wear masks and wash your hands.
“The most important thing is to wash your hands,” Warlen said. “It applies to all viruses, washing your hands frequently is the most effective precaution you can take.”