JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A coronavirus outbreak at a southwestern Missouri nursing home has led to 21 deaths so far as confirmed cases increase across the state.
The outbreak at Joplin's Spring River Christian Village sickened 73 residents, 42 of whom have recovered, The Joplin Globe reported Friday.
The chief operating officer for Christian Horizons, which runs the home, told the newspaper that 54 staffers also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and that 45 of them have since recovered.
“During the past weeks, we’ve been able to bring this outbreak under control," Ray Dickison said.
Statewide at least 50,323 people have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began, according to health department data updated Friday. That's an increase of 1,489 cases from Thursday. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
In the past week, about 9.7% of those tested for the COVID-19 virus were confirmed to have it.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day has also been increasing. In the past week, the state has added 1,582 newly confirmed cases per day on average, according to an Associated Press analysis of Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracking project.
Rolling average weekly data is important because it should help mitigate day-to-day spikes in cases caused by delays in reporting or processing information from labs.
The state has reported 1,243 deaths so far.
State health department Director Randall Williams has said the increase in reported cases is primarily driven by spread among young adults.
Schools across the state are facing pushback over how they plan to cope with the virus when classes start back up in late August.
Kristi Fulnecky, an attorney and candidate for Springfield mayor, on Friday announced a lawsuit against the city's public school district for not offering in-person classes five days a week, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
Springfield Public School’s current plan, supported by Republican Gov. Mike Parson, offers families the option to sign up for full-time online learning or two days of classroom time each week coupled with three days of online learning.
“If the majority of school districts in Missouri can offer five day in-person options, then I believe that the largest school district in Missouri can too,” Fulnecky said in a news release.
An attorney for the school district, Ransom Ellis III, said it is “offering as much choice to students and parents as possible” and will reevaluate in-person classes midway in the semester.
“The legal action announced today does not provide practical solutions to address the unique and significant challenges faced by the school district and the community,” Ellis said. “It is an unfortunate distraction, without legal merit, during a difficult time for everyone.”