New data reveals many Four State residents are at risk of contracting covid-19 and having what health experts call a ‘worst case of illness.’

Joplin Area Coronavirus

JOPLIN, Mo. — New data reveals many Four State residents are at risk of contracting covid-19 and having what health experts call a ‘worst case of illness.’

What are these risk factors?

It all comes down to underlying health conditions.

Local health experts say this region has a high number of residents living with them, and that can determine just how bad their case of covid-19 could be.

Uwe Schmidt, Director of Infectious Disease, Freeman Health System, said, “Diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, chronic kidney disease for example, morbid obesity is a big risk factor as well.”

All of these underlying health conditions could play a role in how sick Four State residents could get if they were to contract covid-19.

Local health experts say the amount of residents living with these conditions in the area surpasses the state average.

Dan Pekarek, Community Health Director, Joplin, said, “Coincidentally, those are underlying health conditions that can be linked to worse cases of illness related to the COVID-19.”

Locally, numbers aren’t reaching the heights cities like New York and Chicago have seen, but doctors don’t think we’re in the clear just yet.

“Across the state line in Oklahoma, they had a big out break in one of the nursing homes, and so those outbreaks could happen here as well if the virus gets introduced into those settings. So, that’s still a risk because there’s very little immunity in the population here,” said Schmidt.

And even with restrictions being lifted, we still need to remain vigilant.

If not for ourselves, for those with those health issues.

“Those who are most at risk, those individuals that are elderly, or are immune compromised or these chronic conditions, these individuals are going to need to be the most careful and the ones that are not that age or don’t have underlying health conditions, we need to be the most protective of,” said Pakarek.

As area businesses begin to reopen, Pekarek recommends to continue to wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

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