Missouri poll worker dead after receiving coronavirus diagnosis, working on Election Day

A poll worker in Missouri tested positive for the coronavirus in late October, worked days later on Election Day, then died sometime afterward, St. Charles County officials said Thursday. 

It was unclear if the virus was the worker’s cause of death or exactly when the individual died. 

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St. Charles County’s Precinct 41 polling site accommodated 1,858 voters Tuesday, but the county said the individual was an election judge supervisor. In that role, duties “do not typically include working closely with voters, handling iPads, distributing styluses, or taking voter identification.”

Workers wore face masks the whole time and Plexiglass barriers separated workers from voters, according to St. Charles County Director of Elections Kurt Bahr.

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Nine other election workers may have had contact with the infected individual. Health officials were working with them to complete contact tracing. 

“As this virus continues to spread, all aspects of the health care system are working together to remind the community that a positive COVID-19 test result requires that person to be responsible to others in the community,” Demetrius Cianci-Chapman, the county’s director of public health, said in a statement.

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Missouri is one of many states with a recent surge in coronavirus cases. The Midwestern state reported 17,464 new cases and 78 deaths in the past week, for a total of 196,253 confirmed cases and 3,099 deaths since the pandemic began. 

The state’s test positivity rate is 15.2%, more than triple the World Health Organization’s recommended 5% positivity rate for an area to reopen businesses.