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WEDNESDAY UPDATES: State warns of fake letter circulating on social media

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UPDATE: 9:10 P.M.: The state warned of a fake letter circulating on social media that claims students will need to repeat their current grade.

Officials with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said the letter appears to come from the department, but it is fake.

The letter claims DESE will not allow students to move on to the next grade level for the 2020-2021 school year because the COVID-19 outbreak caused school closures and statewide required assessments to be canceled.

"We could not be more disappointed that someone chose to use their free time to create this document, illegally using our department logo, and make a joke about something as serious as our students' education," officials wrote on the DESE Facebook page. "This is particularly insensitive given the anxiety and uncertainty so many students and families are dealing with right now."

UPDATE: 5:35 P.M.: Callaway and Boone counties reported no new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

According to a news release, the number of positive cases in Boone County is currently 66 with 24 who have recovered. At the time the news release was sent out, there were no new cases since the previous update Tuesday.

City officials also said that Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services now has many staff members working remotely. According to the release, officials will post changes to services lines on their social media accounts and online.

Officials with the Callaway County Health Department also said the department received no new positive cases Wednesday.

There are 17 positive cases, 11 active and 6 recovered in the county.

Officials said while the lack of new cases was encouraging, it should not be taken as normal. "We must keep practicing the recommendations from CDC and DHSS to keep ourselves and our community safe," officials said.

UPDATE 4:24 P.M.: The Saline County Health Department said Wednesday it confirmed its first case of COVID-19.

The health department said officials worked to find people who were in close contact with the person who tested positive.

It's unclear if the confirmed case is travel-related.

UPDATE 3:53 P.M.: Jefferson City Schools and multiple Cole County school districts announced Wednesday many schools will remain closed until at least May 1.

The announcement listed the following schools won't open until May 4:

  • Jefferson City Schools
  • Blair Oaks R-II
  • Cole R-I
  • Calvary Lutheran High School
  • Trinity Lutheran
  • Immanuel Lutheran
  • River Oak Christian Academy
  • Lighthouse Preparatory Acadmey

"Our goal in enacting this closure is to assist our community with slowing any transmission of the virus by limiting contact among individuals for this period of time. "

Statement on behalf of Cole County Schools

UPDATE 3:36 P.M.: Gov. Mike Parson said Wednesday he is expecting a $500 million shortfall in revenue through June 31.

The governor and state leaders held a daily COVID-19 briefing Wednesday afternoon. During the news conference, Parson said coronavirus has seriously affected the state revenue.

Parson included at least $180 million will be restricted from the 2020 budget to fight COVID-19. The governor said another $315 million in federal funding could be used in the budget shortfall.

Parson said many state departments will be affected by the budget restriction. He included the department of higher learning and workforce development, department of transportation, the office of administration, department of natural resources, state education department and department of economics would be affected.

Parson added the state judiciary and the secretary of state's office looked for ways to cut back their budgets.

State Budget Director Dan Haug said the budget restriction was proactive.

"We are seeing unprecedented drops in revenue from the significant reduction of economic activity from people staying home," Haug said.

Haug included the current budget shortfall could affect state revenue even after the 2021.

UPDATE 2:10 P.M.: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Wednesday nearly 250 more people tested positive for COVID-19 across the state.

The health department's website shows at least 1,581 cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed. There were 1,327 cases yesterday.

State health officials say at least four more people have died from coronavirus around the state. As of Wednesday, 18 have died related to COVID-19.

UPDATE 11:23 A.M.: The Pulaski County Health Center said Wednesday a county resident has died from COVID-19.

Health officials posted on Facebook the person died Tuesday night.

The post included eight people have tested positive for novel coronavirus in the county. At least three of the residents have recovered.

It's unclear how many of the cases are travel-related or community-related.

As of Wednesday, at least 152 people in Mid-Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19.

ORIGINAL: The Diocese of Jefferson City is limiting access to its campuses for the month of April.

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight issued a decree restricting types of public gatherings in the diocese 95 parishes on Wednesday.

“While it pains me personally as a bishop to forbid the public celebration of our sacraments of faith in my diocese for a time, I am also sorrowful over the number of people in our local hospitals and throughout the world who are suffering greatly because of this virus," Bishop McKnight said in a news release.

Remote learning will continue for students in diocesan schools. Bishop McKnight's decree also provided directions for parishes to live stream Mass on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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