COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
City of Columbia and Boone County leaders said Wednesday that a stay-at-home order is working but residents need to continue to adhere to its restrictions on movement.
The city government hosted a news conference Wednesday at City Hall to update progress on fighting the spread of COVID-19. The news conference comes two weeks after the order went into effect. The order is set to expire April 24.
Watch a replay of the news conference in the player below.
"I believe that the early action we took as a city and county is saving lives and slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus," Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said. He said local leaders based their decisions on science and the safety of community members.
Treece said the county had recorded 72 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. Only eight of those cases are active, Treece said.
Treece encouraged residents to continue to stay at home and take precautions such as frequently washing their hands. Treece and Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill called the next two weeks critical in slowing down the highly contagious coronavirus.
"This isn’t anywhere near over," Atwill said. "This is not a time to relax. It’s like being on the 1-yard line with the game tied.”
Dr. Robin Blount said the actions taken by local officials and residents have likely decreased infections and deaths.
"Mitigation has made a difference here," Blount said.
Treece emphasized religious holidays this week -- Passover and Easter. He said churches are planning drive-up services using low-powered FM transmitters or loudspeakers and encouraged families to celebrate together via video calls or phone calls.
The local stay-at-home order requires Boone County residents to stay at home except for getting access to essential services or recreation. The order also shut down public access to businesses not deemed essential and closed restaurant dining rooms.
The state has reported more than 3,300 COVID-19 cases. A statewide stay-at-home order went into effect Monday.
Columbia/Boone County Health Department Director Stephanie Browning said despite measures taken locally, what happens in the rest of the state will continue to affect the situation locally.
University of Missouri Health Care Dr. Steven Whitt said about seven people are hospitalized at University Hospital with COVID-19. No patients are hospitalized at Boone Hospital Center or Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, where a COVID-19 patient recently died, Whitt said.