Texas County recorded 131 positive COVID-19 tests since Saturday, the Texas County Health Department reported on Friday.

Confirmed deaths for 2021 were 39. The last time it was reported — near year’s end — it stood at 30.

Since the first of the year, Texas County has had 206 positive cases. The number mirrors an increase throughout the state as healthcare institutions scramble to keep up with increased patients with employees out due to illness. CoxHealth in Springfield reported Friday about 3 percent of its staff were out. Springfield Schools reported 20 percent of their staff and 20 percent of their students absent on Friday.

Area school districts report they are not receiving much in the way of information from health departments on how to handle the increased sickness. That comes after Attorney General Eric Schmitt questioned the legality of them issuing guidance. Since Schmitt’s move, the Texas County Health Department has issued few details, including how many county residents are even hospitalized.

Additionally, testing availability is scarce. The only testing site in this area is Tuesdays in Springfield and Wednesdays in Marshfield. Testing kits are available online at the state’s website — health.mo.gov — or at some pharmacies or arranged through a physician. Beginning Jan. 19, tests can be ordered from the federal government.

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