Shele Sowers (left) administering a COVID-19 vaccine

Shele Sowers (left) administering a COVID-19 vaccine Friday to Dent County resident Eula Medley. The vaccination event was hosted by Dent County Health and Salem Memorial District Hospital at the Dent County Fire Station.

Governor Mike Parson announced in a recent news release that the Missouri National Guard will be assisting the Department of Health and Senior Services and other state partners in establishing COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state.

A mass vaccination team has been assigned to each of Missouri's nine highway patrol regions. In partnership with MONG and DHSS, Dent County Health Department, Salem Memorial District Hospital and Jordan Valley Community Health Center will hold a drive-thru mass vaccination clinic 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday and Friday (Feb. 11-12) at Dent County Commons.

The Commons is located on 162 County Rd. 2300. Individuals in Phase 1A, 1B: Tiers 1 and 2 can register at https://bit.ly/3cDrdFD.

The Moderna vaccine will be given at this mass vaccination site. Moderna’s vaccine was approved for those ages 18 and older. It is not recommended for individuals who have experienced a serious reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to a prior dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of its components. For information on vaccine components, refer to the manufacturers’ package inserts from Moderna.

Registration is required for this event and attendees will be screened and approved according to the phases listed above; bring your photo ID; wear a short-sleeved shirt.

Phelps Health expanding COVID-19 testing locations

Effective Monday, Phelps Health’s respiratory screening station, located on 10th Street across from the Emergency Department in Rolla, will no longer offer COVID-19 tests or screenings for other respiratory-type illnesses (such as influenza, strep, etc.)

People seeking COVID-19 testing need to call ahead and schedule an appointment to be seen at one of the following locations. The locations mentioned are for COVID-19 testing, not vaccinations.

• Phelps Health Medical Group Salem, 1415 West Scenic Rivers Boulevard, Salem; (573) 729-5533; open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

• Phelps Health Hospital (North Entrance), 1000 West 10th Street, Rolla; (573) 458-8818; open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

• Phelps Health Medical Group Rolla (Bond Building), 600 Blues Lake Parkway, Rolla; (573) 364-8822; open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

• Phelps Health Medical Group St. James, 1000 North Jefferson Street, St. James; (573) 265-8840; open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

Same-day appointments for COVID-19 tests will be available at these clinics. When patients call to schedule appointments, they will be given instructions to follow.

When these clinics are closed, patients should go to the Emergency Department to be seen.

Individuals seeking COVID-19 testing can be seen at the following convenient locations (no appointment necessary):

• Phelps Health Immediate Care Rolla -- 603 South Bishop Avenue, Suite C, Rolla; open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

• Phelps Health Immediate Care Waynesville --1000 GW Lane Street, Suite 150, Waynesville; open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

When patients arrive at these above locations, they will park in designated spots, call the clinic and follow the instructions given to them.

This change is beneficial for the following reasons:

• Individuals can be seen at multiple locations that are closer to where they live and work.

• By calling ahead and scheduling an appointment, you can avoid the lines.

• Immediate Care clinics are open on Saturdays and Sundays, so people can now be tested at these facilities on weekends.

Please note the above locations mentioned are for COVID-19 testing, not vaccinations.

Visit phelpshealth.org to learn more about COVID-19.

Missouri’s first confirmed case of B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is reporting the first identification in a Missouri resident of the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom in September 2020 and began being reported in the United States in December. The B.1.1.7 variant was identified in a sample from an adult living in Marion County. To protect the privacy of the individual, no further information will be released about the patient.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 611 cases have been reported to the CDC in the United States as of Feb. 4, with 33 states reporting cases thus far.

“We were notified today of this first B.1.1.7 variant case in Missouri, and we are working closely with the local public health agency to ensure appropriate measures are being taken regarding contact tracing and isolation and quarantine protocols,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS.

According to the CDC, this particular variant is associated with increased transmissibility, meaning it can spread more quickly. Early reports found no evidence to suggest that this variant has any impact on the severity of disease or vaccine efficacy.

DHSS continues to advise individuals to wear a mask, practice good handwashing and physical distancing, and to stay home if not feeling well. If any symptoms are experienced or COVID-19 exposure is suspected, DHSS encourages individuals to seek testing.

Although in limited supply, the COVID-19 vaccine is now available to health care workers, long-term care residents and staff, emergency personnel and those with specific comorbidities or who are age 65 and over. Learn more at www.MOStopsCovid.com.