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THURSDAY UPDATES: At least 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri

MGN Online


UPDATE 10:45 P.M.: As of Thursday night, there were at least 36 COVID-19 cases in the Missouri.

The Department of Health and Senior Services reported 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Local reports from health agencies, however, show the number is most likely closer to 40.

The numbers published by the state do not reflect at least two cases each from St. Louis County, Boone County and the city of St. Louis.

Pulaski County health officials also announced a resident tested positive for the disease, which the state website does not show. These cases would bring the total to at least 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

UPDATE 7:57 P.M.: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced steps Thursday night to help address child care needs.

This includes allowing licensed child care providers to exceed their facility's capacity by one-third, loosening regulations to extend hours of care and allowing short-term licenses for the temporary care of preschool and school-age children.

More information on the state's actions can be found here.

UPDATE 5:47 P.M.: The Cooper County Commission issued a state of emergency on Thursday.

Officials said this would allow the county to get state and federal assets and funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioners said they, along with the health department and emergency management agency, are monitoring the situation and would update to public on the county's website.

UPDATE 5:45 P.M.: The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said late Thursday that it would not require school districts to administer state assessment tests this year.

Missouri Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven made the announcement in a video posted on social media.

Vandeven made the decision on the same day state officials said all public and charter schools around the state had temporarily closed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As of Thursday afternoon, 28 people had tested positive for novel coronavirus in the state and one person, a Boone County resident, had died. City of Columbia officials said three people have tested positive in Boone County.

UPDATE 5:05 P.M.: University of Missouri System President Mun Choi has told employees they should work remotely until at least April 12.

Rare exceptions will be made for only those employees whose duties are necessary for operations to continue, Choi said in the statement. The directive begins Monday.

“As we continue to watch the COVID-19 crisis unfold, new developments – and our subsequent decisions – are occurring on an hour-by-hour basis,” Choi said. “While we have taken many actions to help prevent the spread of the disease, we must do more. I am issuing a presidential directive that no one physically works on our universities unless they are requested to do so by an appropriate supervisor.”

Employees who can't work remotely will be paid through enhanced leave measures, Choi said. The directive applies to the system offices and all four campuses. The UM System has also said all classes will be conducted online for the rest of the semester.            

Missouri officials said Thursday that 28 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19. The state's first death from the disease was recorded Wednesday in Boone County.

UPDATE 4:20 P.M.: A patient at Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital said on its Facebook page.

"On March 18, Truman VA evaluated a veteran with respiratory symptoms. A COVID 19 test result came back positive late on March 18," the hospital said in the post.

The hospital said the risk to patients and staff remains low and that anyone with symptoms similar to those seen with COVID-19 is being evaluated.

UPDATE 3:50 P.M.: Dr. Randall Williams, head of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said Thursday the state has now recorded 28 cases of novel coronavirus.

Williams was speaking at Gov. Mike Parson's daily COVID-19 briefing. The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has killed one Missourian -- a Boone County resident who died Wednesday.

The total was up from the 24 that state officials reported Wednesday evening and again Thursday morning. Williams said local health departments were being notified about the cases and did not say in which counties they were identified.

UPDATE 3:23 P.M.: Boone County government offices are set to remain open amid the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release sent out Thursday.

The letter sent out by county administrative coordinator Michele Hall said all county offices will be open with minimal staff starting Friday. It added non-essential staff members were asked to maintain social distancing and not report to work.

Hall said essential staff members were asked to work remotely. Employees who decide not to work won't be disciplined, according to the letter.

County leaders said residents should call the offices or conduct their business online if possible.

UPDATE 3:12 P.M.: The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services announced officials are set to hold Facebook live events to answer questions from the public.

Lucio Bitoy, a spokesman with the county health department, said the events will be held weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. He said the first event is scheduled for Friday, March 20.

Bitoy said health officials will answer questions left on the health department's Facebook page.

UPDATE 3:05 P.M.: The Camden County Sheriff's updated its response procedures amid the spread of COVID-19.

The sheriff's office said the decision was made to protect staff and the public.

According to the announcement, deputies will respond to all emergency calls. It added that deputies will try to resolve calls that are not life-threatening over the phone.

The sheriff's office recommended the public to limit non-emergency calls. The announcement added the school resource officers in the county will help deliver food.

UPDATE 12:02 P.M.: US Rep. Ann Wagner R - Ballwin said Wednesday she self-quarantined after having contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement on the congresswoman's website, Wagner was in a small group with the person last week.

Wagner included she hasn't started exhibiting symptoms. The congresswoman added she will be working by teleconference until further notice.

UPDATE 10:59 A.M.: The Boone County Collector announced Thursday the office will operate during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

County collector Brian McCollum said staff will be in the office over the next 15 days to help residents.

The county official said the office will run with minimal staff members.

McCollum added county residents can pay taxes over the phone and online.

UPDATE 10:45 A.M.: The Audrain County Sheriff said Thursday he added new restrictions to deputies amid the spread of COVID-19.

Sheriff Matt Oller said on Facebook that non-emergency, routine and non-essential calls are suspended until further notice.

Oller said the decision was made to keep the facilities safe.

"We must take all steps to limit all avenues under our control by which infectious disease may enter. Jails have been very successful at infection control for many years through cleanliness and precaution and experience, but given the information available, I'm not sure the 'usual amount" of precaution is sufficient given the circumstances."

Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller

The post shows all doors at the sheriff's office will be locked. Oller said no people will be allowed inside the building without prior approval.

Oller included concealed-carry permits will not be issued or renewed during this period.

ORIGINAL: Callaway County officials said Thursday that they're limiting public access to county government.

"To help protect the public and the Courthouse staff with the heightened concerns regarding COVID-19, Callaway County officials have decided that there will be limited public access to the Callaway County Courthouse," the county commission said in a news release.

Officials ask that the public try to conduct business with the county by phone or email.

"If you must visit the Courthouse, we will do our best to serve your needs, while following the State and Federal guidelines for social distancing and cleanliness," the release said.

ABC 17 News has posted a list of restaurants and their special accommodations during the COVID-19 pandemic. See that list here.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

ABC 17 News Team


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