On Monday, the Newton County Health Department released the latest figures for COVID-19 in the county

They reported a total of 279 cases so far in Newton County with 216 currently in isolation. Three are currently hospitalized. 61 individuals have been released from isolation and two have passed away.

The Joplin metropolitan area which includes both Newton and McDonald Counties is currently being reported as the number one hot spot in the nation for rapid spread of COVID-19.

The best way to prevent illness to to avoid being exposed. The virus is believed to spread primarily from person to person. Social distancing, maintaining 6 feet, is recommended as is wearing masks to both protect and prevent the spread. The disease is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Recent studies indicate that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.