Health officials are warning that the continuing increase in COVID-19 in Boone County means people should plan smaller Independence Day celebrations.
Wednesday was the eighth time in the last 10 days with a double-digit report of new cases.
There have been "notable" increases in cases following Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Father’s Day, the Columbia-Boone County Public Health and Human Services wrote in a news release.
To calm the spread that has seen as many as 25 new cases in a day, the department is urging people to limit gatherings to family and 10 people or less.
"In order to protect our families and loved ones, it's important to adjust our usual traditions by lowering the risk of exposure to COVID-19 as much as possible," the release stated.
There were 11 new cases on Wednesday, raising the total since the first was found in March to 390. On Wednesday afternoon, there were 107 active cases and 246 people in quarantine for possible exposure to the coronavirus. That is the second-highest number of active cases and the highest number in quarantine in the past 10 days.
There are 10 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with four in ventilators, in Boone County.
The advisory for the holiday includes a recommendation that people wear a face covering whether indoors or outside as part of a defense against the disease that includes social distancing of at least 6 feet.
The Columbia City Council is likely to consider an ordinance requiring masks in public settings when it meets Monday night. The health department has been working on the ordinance and believes it has the power to order masks under current state law and city ordinances, Assistant Director Scott Clardy said on Monday.
Kansas City and Jackson County have already implemented mask orders and, with hospitalizations starting to increase and hundreds of new cases statewide every day, St. Louis will follow suit.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Wednesday that both the city and St. Louis County will require face coverings, the Associated Press reported.
"It's just a precaution. We don't want to have to pull back on reopening," Krewson said during a live update on Facebook.
Missouri is among several states seeing increases in confirmed cases of virus that causes COVID-19 since the economy reopened. The state health department has reported more than 3,000 newly confirmed cases in the past week, including 376 cases and two deaths on Wednesday.
The state has seen 21,927 confirmed cases, including 1,017 deaths, since the pandemic began. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
The Missouri Hospital Association on Wednesday reported a rise in people being hospitalized, especially in southwestern Missouri and the Kansas City area. Spokesman Dave Dillon said there are no regions facing shortages of hospital beds or ventilators.
"We are not in a position where our resources are being outstripped by the demand for services," Dillon said. "Our concern is that the trend is moving in the wrong direction."
The state report of hospitalizations, which is three days behind current conditions, showed 598 inpatients as of Sunday, about 25 above the five-day average.
Freeman Health Care in Joplin is treating 20 coronavirus patients, said Jeremy Jones, director of critical care services and cardiology at the southwestern Missouri hospital. Until a couple of weeks ago, the hospital was typically treating six or seven patients with the virus at any given time.
"We're staying pretty busy right now," Jones said. "This has definitely been a big spike for us."
The Joplin Globe reported that five residents have died at a nursing home called Spring River Christian Village since a COVID-19 outbreak there began in mid-June, and 70 residents and staff have been infected.