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THURSDAY UPDATES: Cole County health officials report 12 COVID-19 cases

UPDATE 8:00 P.M.: As of Thursday night, the Cole County Health Department reported that there have been 12 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county.

That's three more since the numbers were updated Thursday afternoon.

According to the county's website, two patients have recovered.

UPDATE 6:25 P.M.: President Donald Trump approved Missouri's request for a federal major disaster declaration on Thursday.

Gov. Mike Parson tweeted around 6:30 p.m. thanking the president. Parson says it was approved in 48 hours.

UPDATE 6:05 P.M.: More COVID-19 cases are being reported in area counties, including another college student in Callaway County.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department reported 37 cases Thursday evening. The count started at 24 cases early Thursday.

The Callaway County Health Department said in a news release Thursday that another William Woods University student has tested positive for the disease caused by novel coronavirus. That brings the county total to 11, all William Woods students.

"The Callaway County Health Department is working to identify anyone this individual has come into close contact with," the department said in the release. "Everyone identified will be contacted today by the Callaway County Health Department and be advised to isolate in place for 14 days."

The Callaway County Health Department has issued an advisory recommending all residents stay at home and that anyone who travels outside the area quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Moniteau County health officials said a second person in their county has tested positive for the virus. The person is in their 20s and has a history of travel. The department said it would release no other information about the patient.

UPDATE 5:45 P.M.: Boone County health authorities say two more people have tested positive for COVID-19.

The number of cases on a city of Columbia website tracking the outbreak locally went from 33 to 35 late Thursday afternoon. Five of those cases were labeled community transmission, meaning the patients picked up the novel coronavirus locally.

One person in Boone County has died from COVID-19 and health officials this week instituted a stay-at-home order.

More than 500 cases have been reported statewide.

UPDATE 5:10 P.M.: The United States has moved into the lead for most COVID-19 cases of any country.

Johns Hopkins University updated its COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday afternoon, reflecting the change. The organization's numbers are considered among the most updated counts of COVID-19 cases worldwide.

The data showed the U.S. with 82,404 confirmed cases, surpassing China's 81,782 cases and Italy's 80,589.

The disease has caused nearly 24,000 deaths worldwide and 122,000 people have recovered from COVID-19.

UPDATE 4:15 P.M.: At least 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Boone County, public health officials said Thursday.

The number is up nine from Thursday morning.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department does not give out specific information about individual cases but conducts investigations to determine and notify those who came in contact with infected people. Four of the county's cases are from community transmission, meaning those people have not traveled and cannot pinpoint a source where they might have come in contact with novel coronavirus.

Thirteen of the cases are in the 45-64 age range and another three are in people 65 and older. The virus has been shown to be more dangerous to older people and those with compromised immune systems.

COVID-19 has killed one person in Boone County.

State officials reported 502 cases on Thursday afternoon, including eight deaths.

UPDATE 3:55 P.M. Jefferson City Medical Group said Thursday that it is has laid off about 5 percent of its workforce as COVID-19 leads to sharp losses in business.

The medical office released the statement on the same day the U.S. Department of Labor reported a massive jump in unemployment claims. In Missouri, new claims last week were 10 times those the week before.

JCMG said it has laid off 38 workers because patient visits and procedures are down 60 to 70 percent.

"The economic impact on the organization has been significant," the company said in a statement.

Physician shareholders voted to decrease their pay 50 percent, according to the statement.

"Many shareholders volunteered to go without pay completely in order to mitigate the economic impact of this downturn and to make sure that JCMG can be here and available for patient care," the company said. "Staff salaries were also reduced as part of an overall plan to protect jobs and access to care as much as possible through this difficult situation."

Another Jefferson City medical care provider, Capital Region Medical Center, said Thursday that it has started providing telehealth appointments for patients not requiring an in-person examination.

UPDATE 2:25 P.M.: The number of COVID-19 cases in Missouri jumped by nearly 150 on Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon, state health authorities reported 502 cases, up from 356 earlier in the day. The number does not include some cases reported by local health authorities. For example, Boone County officials reported 29 cases on Thursday afternoon but state officials only reported 25 cases in Boone.

Of the state cases, 114 were in people ages 50-59, 73 were in people age 60-69 and 67 were in people 70 and older. Older people and those with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the worst complications of COVID-19, health experts say.

Only 38 of the cases statewide are travel-related.

Health care providers have ramped up testing in recent days, which is likely contributing to the large jump in cases.

UPDATE 2:10 P.M.: All public and private schools in Cole County say they'll be closed until April 13 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"In an effort to collaborate across Cole County for the safety and well-being of students, families, and teachers, the educational leaders of both the public and non-public schools are taking a proactive step to help limit potential exposure opportunities," the county's schools said in a collective statement. "Cole County school leaders recognize we have overlapping constituencies with one another and have chosen this collaborative approach to work stronger together."

The schools cited advisories from Cole County public health authorities recommending all residents stay inside their homes and quarantine themselves for 14 days if they travel outside Mid-Missouri.

"In accordance with the recommendations of the health department, and to allow residents returning from Spring Break or other travel to meet the recommended 14-day self-quarantine, we feel it is necessary to extend our current district closure by one week to protect the health and well-being of our staff and students," the statement says.

Columbia Public Schools extended its closure this week to April 27 after county and city authorities signed a stay-at-home order in effect through April 24.

UPDATE 1:53 P.M.: The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said Thursday two more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.

As of Thursday afternoon, the health department has confirmed five additional cases since Wednesday. At least 29 people have tested positive for novel coronavirus in the state.

The City of Columbia website shows seven of the cases are under investigation. The majority of positive cases are travel-related, according to the website.

UPDATE 1:27 P.M.: Organizers with the Molly Bowden Memorial Blood Drive say the event will be held Friday, March 27.

A Facebook post from the organization said measures will be in place to keep people giving blood distanced.

We've received confirmation that the Molly Bowden Memorial Blood Drive WILL be on THIS FRIDAY! This is an excellent...

Posted by Molly's Miles on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Donors can give blood between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Grace Bible Church on Blue Ridge Road.

The organization announced last week its annual 5K and 10K race was canceled because of the spread of COVID-19. Molly's Miles is being held as a virtual race on April 4.

UPDATE 12:05 P.M.: The Cole County Health Department said Thursday afternoon there are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Health officials confirmed at least two more cases of novel coronavirus since Wednesday.

According to the county's website, two people have recovered.

As of Thursday afternoon, no people in Cole County have died from coronavirus. Mid-Missouri health officials have confirmed at least 57 positive cases of COVID-19.

UPDATE 11:23 A.M.: The Randolph County Sheriff's Office said Thursday a deputy tested negative for COVID-19.

The sheriff's office posted on Facebook that the deputy's family member recently tested positive for novel coronavirus.

According to the Facebook post on Thursday, the deputy will self-quarantine until further notice.

The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce it has been confirmed the deputy, whose family member tested...

Posted by Randolph County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, March 26, 2020

The post said at least two other sheriff's office employees have self-quarantined because of potential exposure to coronavirus.

UPDATE 10:56 A.M.: The Columbia/Boone County health department confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday. It brings the total number of cases to 27.

The City of Columbia website shows 16 of the cases are travel-related. It includes residents between the ages of 45 and 64 have the highest concentration of cases with 11 confirmed.

County health officials confirmed seven more cases of novel coronavirus in the county since Tuesday.

State health officials announced yesterday there were at least 356 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state.

UPDATE 10:07 A.M.: Amtrak said Thursday morning the Missouri River Runner will run one daily roundtrip starting March 30.

Two trains will make round trips between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Amtrak said it changed the schedule because of decreased use amid novel coronavirus.

UPDATE 9:30 A.M.: Lincoln University and State Fair Community College announced their spring graduation ceremonies have been postponed.

Lincoln University posted on its Facebook page Wednesday that the college plans to hold its graduation ceremony on Aug. 1.

Class of 2020 - the halls are empty but your emails are full! Blue Tigers can do this together! Let's finish strong! #WeAreLincoln #Classof2020

Posted by Lincoln University - Missouri on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

According to the State Fair website, all spring activities including commencement ceremonies have been canceled. The website included that the community college is expected to hold graduation and pinning ceremonies at a later date. The rescheduled date was not immediately available.

Officials at both institutions closed the schools' campuses.

Columbia College announced Tuesday its spring graduation ceremony was postponed.

ORIGINAL: The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Wednesday some restrictions have been waived for truck drivers amid COVID-19.

According to the news release, MoDOT allowed trucking companies to apply for a temporary permit to haul up to 100,000 pounds on any highway or interstate.

The release said the permits are available for the transportation of supplies and equipment that address novel coronavirus.

“This action is taken in light of the current needs for food and emergency supplies across Missouri and the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic consistent with the national and state emergency declarations," MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said.

Temporary permits are available until April 30. The permits allow motor carriers to travel any time of day during all days of the week.

According to MoDOT guidelines, semi-truck are normally allowed to carry at most 80,000 pounds for most permits, and up to 160,000 pounds for oversize and overweight permits.

Truck owners and operators could face fines for violating the special permit.

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