variant. It is an omicron subvariant that should not cause more severe
symptoms than other subvariants, but is more contagious. Since
bottoming out in April, the Health Department has seen a general
increase in hospitalization rates across the region over the last several
With CDC’s designation of someone being up-to-date for COVID-19
vaccination involving a booster dose after a certain interval, a large
amount of the Eastern Jackson County population is not considered fully
protected against COVID-19 infection, despite having been vaccinated.
The Jackson County Health Department is distributing high quality masks
free to the general public through the Health Department, MCPL library
campuses, churches, and other community partners. They have
distributed over 60,000 masks. Additionally, the health department is
providing free access to at home rapid tests through the Health
Department, MCPL campuses, and other community partners.
Ray Dlugolecki said Monkeypox is considered endemic in certain African
Countries. The main symptoms of Monkeypox are fever, headache,
muscle aches and backache, chills, exhaustion, rash consisting of
pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth and on other
parts of the body.
Monkeypox is spread in different ways, including, direct contact with the
infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids, respiratory secretions during
prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such
as kissing, cuddling, or sex, touching items (such as clothing or linens)
that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids, and pregnant
people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
Ronald E. Finley asked about the number of vaccine shots residents
should get. Mr. Dlugolecki said it can depend on an individual’s age and
health status. He recommended people contact the health department or
their doctor for specific guidance. Mr. Finley asked about COVID variants
and why it effects people differently. Mr. Dlugolecki said the current BA.5
variant seems to be less reactive to immunity, but they are not seeing as
severe disease with the current variant. He said people should
communicate with their health care provider regarding new treatments for
COVID-19. Mr. Dlugolecki said masks are recommended by the CDC.
There are no mandates in place requiring masks to be worn in public
places. The County requires masks in its buildings when the County is in
high transmission. Mr. Finley asked about the availability of vaccines
outside of the Health Department offices in Independence. Mr. Dlugolecki
said the Health Department offers vaccines at many community partner
locations. The Health Department is working on redesign of its weekly