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COVID-19 deaths in Missouri surpass grim milestone: 7,000

Missouri continues to see declines in newly confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, but the death toll reached another sad milestone on Tuesday, topping 7,000.

The state health department cited 340 additional deaths. All but two of those were the result of the Bureau of Vital Records’ weekly review of death certificates to include COVID-19-related deaths that were not previously reported by local health agencies. Spokeswoman Lisa Cox said 11 of the deaths reported Tuesday occurred in November, 190 in December, 138 in January and one this month.

The state’s COVID-19 dashboard cited 890 new cases of the virus, bringing the total since the onset of the pandemic to 460,487. Over the past seven days, the state has averaged 1,056 cases per day, the lowest level since October. Experts correctly predicted cases and hospitalizations would spike due to holiday gatherings starting in November.

Hospitalizations have also dipped sharply over the past couple of weeks. Still, in-patient bed capacity and intensive care unit bed capacity were both at just 24% statewide, according to the health department dashboard.

Meanwhile, Missouri continues to lag behind most states in vaccinating residents, according to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s website shows that while Missouri has received 835,400 doses of vaccine, just 462,200 have been administered.

The CDC says 5.7% of Missourians have received at least one dose, which ranks ahead of only Idaho among the 50 states.

Gov. Mike Parson has criticized the CDC data. Missouri last week launched its own vaccine site, and it tells a different story. According to the Missouri data, 6.7% of residents have received a first shot, a figure that would still put Missouri in the bottom 10 among state vaccination rates.

It wasn’t clear why the two sites cited different percentages. Cox didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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