COVID-19 Briefly: Missouri news, new symptoms, facilities repurposed

2nd Perry County case confirmed

On Monday the Perry County Health Department (PCHD) was notified of the second positive case of COVID-19 in Perry County, Missouri.

The individual, a male in his 30s, was identified as a close contact to the first positive case. When contacted by PCHD, the individual was exhibiting symptoms and therefore was tested through the Missouri State Public Health Lab. It is unknown, at this time, which individual was first to become infected.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 efforts in Perry County, follow the official Perry County Health Department-Missouri Facebook page where PCHD will be providing daily updates.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has a 24-hour hotline available at (877) 435-8411.

New virus symptoms noted

NEW YORK (AP) -- A loss of smell or taste might be an early sign of infection with the pandemic virus, say medical experts who cite reports from several countries.

It might even serve as a useful screening tool, they said.

The idea of a virus infection reducing sense of smell is not new. Respiratory viral infection is a common cause of loss of smell, because inflammation can interfere with airflow and the ability to detect odors. The sense of smell usually returns when the infection resolves, but in a small percentage of cases, smell loss can persist after other symptoms disappear. In some cases, it is permanent.

Now, there's "good evidence" from South Korea, China and Italy for loss or impairment of smell in infected people, says a joint statement from the presidents of the British Rhinological Society and of ENT UK, a British group that represents ear, nose and throat doctors. In South Korea, some 30% of people who tested positive for the virus have cited loss of smell as their major complaint in otherwise mild cases, they wrote.

So that might be useful as a way to spot infected people without other symptoms -- fever, coughing and shortness of breath -- of the new coronavirus, they wrote.

A similar proposal was published Sunday by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. It noted "rapidly accumulating" anecdotal evidence from around the world that the pandemic virus can cause not only loss of smell but also a diminished sense of taste. So the appearance of those symptoms in people without another explanation should alert doctors to the possibility of a COVID-19 infection, the group said.