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THURSDAY UPDATES: Boone, Callaway, Cole counties keep COVID-19 numbers steady

COVID-19 case numbers might differ among state and local health authorities because of issues with reporting and address verification

UPDATE 5:15 P.M.: Boone, Callaway and Cole counties again reported no new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

The report continues a weeks-long streak of little to no growth in cases in the three counties. Boone County has now gone four days straight without a new case and has five active cases.

Boone County's total number of cases since the start of the pandemic stood Thursday at 100. The health department reported 17 percent of those cases are in black residents, who only make up 8.8 percent of the county population.

Cole County reported 54 cases on Thursday but only one active case, down from two the day before. Cole County has gone six days without a new case.

Callaway County also reported one active case Thursday, with 22 cases total. The Callaway County Health Department will open to the public at 8 a.m. Monday, the department said in a news release. Visitors will have to wear masks and their temperatures will be taken before they enter the building.

Callaway County hasn't reported a new case in nearly two weeks.

UPDATE 4:30 P.M.: After what public health officials called a successful start, more mobile COVID-19 testing stations will pop up in Boone County starting Friday.

Boone County mobile testing collaborative
Boone County health officials test residents for COVID-19.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services started the testing May 4 with help from Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, University of Missouri Health Care and Boone Hospital Center.

The mobile labs have tested 161 people since then, the health department said in a news release.

The newly scheduled mobile testing sites are:

  • Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library (100 W. Broadway, Columbia) 
  • Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m in the Bear Creek Family Neighborhood, outside of the manager’s office (1109B Elleta Blvd. Columbia) 
  • Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. at Oak Tower (400 N. Garth Ave., Columbia) 
  • May 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (204 E. Ash St., Columbia) 
  • May 27 from noon to 4 p.m. at Refugee and Immigration Services (916 Bernadette Drive, Columbia) 

The tests will be given for free to anyone showing symptoms of respiratory infection.

UPDATE 2:10 P.M.: Missouri on Thursday again reached one of its highest single-day death totals since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The state Department of Health and Senior Service reported 562 deaths, up 20 from the day before. That's after an increase of 36 earlier in the week that state officials chalked up to delays in reporting from one jurisdiction.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Missouri went up 175 to reach 10,317. The number is almost 40 more than Wednesday's increase. However, total cases only increased by 88 on Tuesday.

This Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services graphic shows cumulative and new COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday.

The growth in cases has been relatively slow this week after a spike in new cases at the start of May, just before a statewide stay-at-home order was lifted.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday used his daily COVID-19 briefing in part to criticize reporting of the numbers, saying that only 9 to 10 percent of cases are active and reminding listeners that the case number is the total since the pandemic began.

St. Louis County continues to lead the state in cases and deaths by a large margin.

The Missouri Hospital Association, which produces a daily report with hospital data, said Wednesday that 771 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Missouri. That number increased by 16 over Tuesday. Numbers for Thursday have not been released.

Cases have grown slowly in most Mid-Missouri counties, but Saline County remains a hot spot with more than 200 confirmed cases.

UPDATE 12:14 P.M.: The Saline County Health Department announced Thursday a resident has died from COVID-19.

The health department posted on its Facebook page that the resident was a 54-year-old man.

The post said residents should avoid contact with people who are sick and to stay home if you are sick.

As of Thursday, 229 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county. According to health department data 51 of the cases are active.

Health workers have confirmed 33 additional COVID-19 cases so far this month.

The Pettis County Health Center reported its first virus-related death on Monday. At least seven people across Mid-Missouri have died from COVID-19.

Lincoln University considering layoffs to ease budget shortfall

Lincoln University said Thursday school leaders are considering the possibility of laying off educators to reduce the burden of a multi-million dollar budget shortfall brought on by COVID-19.

University spokeswoman Misty Young said in a news release that school officials filed a declaration of financial exigency with the LU faculty union on April 27. Young said university leaders met with the union on Friday and discussed the layoffs.

the spokeswoman said the declaration is the start of the process that could result in the university laying off or firing faculty members.

LU is facing a $4.7 million budget shortfall gooing into the 2021 fiscal year. Young said the university has implemented a purchasing and hiring freeze, as well as, shutting down some campus buildings as a cost-saving measure.

Young said university leadership is looking at multiple cost-saving scenarios and is looking for input from the faculty. She added "some tough decisions will be necessary."

LU announced last week in anticipated a 25% drop in enrollment for the upcoming fall semester.

UPDATE 10:05 A.M.: The Missouri Gaming Commission on Wednesday extended the closure of the state's casinos through May 31.

Casinos have been closed since March 17. Gov. Mike Parson announced the closure after a patron who later tested positive for COVID-19 had been on the gaming floor at the Isle of Capri casino in Boonville for about two hours.

The closures have hit Isle of Capri's Boonville location hard, leading to 350 workers being furloughed a few weeks after the closure.

Camping to reopen in state parks

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that camping in state parks will reopen starting Monday with some restrictions.

People who have already made reservations will be able to camp starting at 3 p.m. Monday, the department said in a news release. New reservations will be taken starting Monday for camping dates that begin on May 26.

Campground occupancy will be limited in some places and state parks personnel will increase cleaning of shower houses and restrooms, according to the release. Campers will use a contact-less, self check-in feature and cash will not be accepted.

UPDATE 9:42 A.M.: The New Bloomfield School District is holding three graduation ceremonies on Friday.

New Bloomfield R-III Superintendent Sarah Wisdom said the ceremonies have been staggered to follow COVID-19 measures.

Wisdom said each graduation will be offset by an hour so crews can sanitize the gymnasium. She added families will sit 6 feet apart to follow social distancing guidelines.

"We worked close with our county health department to find a way to make this happen," Wisdom.

The superintendent added district leaders wanted to give the class of 2020 a similar graduation experience as previous classes. Wisdom said 55 New Bloomfield seniors are graduating tomorrow.

ORIGINAL: Missouri unemployment claims saw a considerable drop for the first time in weeks over the first full week of May.

The initial claims over the past week brought the state's total unemployment level to more than 536,000 since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said 30,702 filed initial unemployment claims over the week of May 9, it's down from 52,203 claims from the week before. It's a difference of more than 21,000 claims week-to-week.

Missouri has seen declining initial unemployment claims over the past four weeks.

According to labor department data, it's the most significant drop in claims since mid-April. The state saw its largest decrease between April 11 and April 18, which accounted for 42,451 fewer claims.

Unemployment claims were down by 43% in the first two weeks of May compared to the first half of April.

Gov. Mike Parson said during his Wednesday COVID-19 briefing that increased coronavirus testing would add confidence to the state's recovery plan.

The US Labor Department said another 3 million Americans filed for unemployment over the past week.

Education / Email Alert – Breaking News / Lincoln University / Missouri / News / Top Stories

ABC 17 News Team

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