Mar 25, 2020 10:30 AM

Number of Missouri coronavirus cases tops 250, 8 Deaths

Posted Mar 25, 2020 10:30 AM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The number of positive coronavirus cases in Missouri has increased to more than 250 and state health officials said the rise is due partly to better access to testing.

Eight deaths from the virus have been reported, including three women who lived at an assisted-living center in Springfield. A fourth resident of the Morningside East home is hospitalized.

State health officials reported 255 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, an increase from 183 on Monday. With several health care centers and systems operating mobile testing sites, the state now lists 28 places offering testing.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

St. Louis County has the most cases, with 100. Currently, 28 of the state's 114 counties has reported at least one confirmed case. The 20-29 age group has reported the most cases, with 60, followed by 51 cases in the 50-59 age group, according to health department statistics.

Gov. Mike Parson has banned all gatherings of more than 10 people but was resisting pressure to take stronger measures. On Tuesday, Parson said issuing a statewide stay-at-home order would devastate the state's economy but he said he could change his mind if he becomes convinced it is necessary.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two more residents of a southwest Missouri assisted-living center have died from the coronavirus, bringing the number of deaths in the state to eight.

The deaths of the two women, one in her 70s and one in her 90s, were announced Tuesday by Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. They were both residents of Morningside East of Springfield. The death of another resident, in her 80s, was announced late Monday.

A fourth women who also lives at the home remains hospitalized.

The center is among 268 senior living communities in 32 states operated by Five Star Senior Living Inc., based in Newton, Massachusetts. A Five Star spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Five Star said in a statement on its website that it has implemented several changes in response to the coronavirus crisis: Restricting all non-essential visitors, screening employees and essential visitors upon entry, calling off non-medical resident outings and other social events, as well as keeping residents separated.

Health officials announced the death of a woman in her 30s in St. Louis and a man in his 70s in St. Charles County on Monday. Three other deaths, in Boone, St. Louis and Jackson counties, were announced last week.

The state health department reported 255 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, up from 183 on Monday.

The health department said the rise in confirmed cases was partly attributable to the increasing access to testing. With several health care centers and systems operating mobile testing sites, the state now lists 28 places offering testing.

Greene and Boone counties on Tuesday joined the growing list of jurisdictions requiring residents to stay at home, joining St. Louis city and St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, Jackson, Clay and Buchanan counties.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson last week ordered an end to gatherings of more than 10 people but has resisted calls to take further action to limit the spread of the virus.

On Tuesday, he defended that decision, saying a statewide stay-at-home order would devastate the economy. But said he'll continue to evaluate the situation and might change his mind later.

“When you start talking about shutting the state down for 30 days, 60 days or 90 days, the effects that has on the everyday people are dramatic," Parson said. "That means businesses will close, people will lose their jobs, (and) the economy will be in worse shape than ever.”

Missouri has received some personal protective equipment for free from the national strategic stockpile but also is spending about $20 million of state funds on supplies needed by health care workers and emergency responders, state Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike O’Connell said Tuesday.

The state placed a $10 million order this week for nearly 4.3 million N95 respirator masks, O’Connell said. Among other things, the state ordered 335,000 bottles of hand sanitizer at a cost of $700,000; 95,000 surgical masks for $190,000; and 61,000 goggles for $117,000, he said.

Missouri lawmakers haven’t approved a specific budget appropriation for coronavirus efforts, and the Capitol is shut down for at least the next two weeks. But O’Connell said the state has used $2.3 million from its disaster fund and is tapping $18 million from existing budgets in several departments.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as a fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The majority of people recover.

Some places have gone to extreme measures. In Hannibal, where Samuel Clemens grew up and which is known for its Mark Twain sites, the city removed or roped off all playground equipment and removed picnic tables from parks.

State officials took action preventing Food Stamp benefits from ending during the pandemic, and waived work requirements through the end of the federal emergency COVID-19 declaration.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's death toll from the coronavirus doubled to six in one day, and cities and counties statewide took new measures Tuesday to slow the spread of the virus.

Greene County health officials announced late Monday that a woman in her 80s who lived at an assisted-living facility had died. Three other residents of the same facility have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Earlier Monday, health officials announced the death of a woman in her 30s in St. Louis and a man in his 70s in St. Charles County.

The state health department reported 183 confirmed cases as of Monday, up from 106 the day before. An updated number was expected Tuesday afternoon.

The health department said the rise in numbers was partly attributable to the increasing access to testing. With several health care centers and systems operating mobile testing sites, the state now lists 28 places offering testing.

Missouri has received some personal protective equipment for free from the national strategic stockpile but also is spending about $20 million of state funds on supplies needed by health care workers and emergency responders, state Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike O’Connell said Tuesday.

The state placed a $10 million order this week for nearly 4.3 million N95 respirator masks, O’Connell said. Among other things, the state ordered 335,000 bottles of hand sanitizer at a cost of $700,000; 95,000 surgical masks for $190,000; and 61,000 goggles for $117,000, he said.

Missouri lawmakers haven’t approved a specific budget appropriation for coronavirus efforts, and the Capitol is shut down for at least the next two weeks. But O’Connell said the state has used $2.3 million from its disaster fund and is tapping $18 million from existing budgets in several departments.

Among Missouri's sick are five members from the Weinhaus family in St. Louis County. Jane Weinhaus, 63, teaches at the early childhood center at Congregation Temple Israel, where she is one of four teachers to come down with COVID-19. She was hospitalized on a ventilator for more than a week but is now off the ventilator, the family told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Michael Weinhaus is hospitalized on high-flow oxygen. Jason Weinhaus, his brother Ryan and Ryan’s wife Dr. Brittanie Weinhaus have tested positive but have nearly recovered, Jason Weinhaus told the newspaper.

Also hospitalized is an inmate at the state prison in St. Joseph. Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman Karen Pojmann said prisoners are continuing normal activities but their health is being closely monitored.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as a fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The majority of people recover.

Some places have gone to extreme measures. In Hannibal, where Samuel Clemens grew up and which is known for its Mark Twain sites, the city removed or roped off all playground equipment and removed picnic tables from parks.

Boone County joined the growing list of jurisdictions requiring residents to stay at home.

St. Louis city and St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, Jackson, Clay and Buchanan counties also have enacted stay-at-home orders. Statewide, Republican Gov. Mike Parson has banned gatherings of more than 10 people, but has declined to require people to stay at home despite pressure from some medical leaders.

State officials took action preventing Food Stamp benefits from ending during the pandemic, and waived work requirements through the end of the federal emergency COVID-19 declaration.

Police in Warrenton arrested a man who posted a video on social media of himself licking merchandise at a Walmart story. Warrenton is 55 miles  west of St. Louis.