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Missouri governor disputes two COVID-19 media reports

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson started his regular COVID-19 briefing Wednesday by attacking what he called misleading stories.

Parson took issue with news reports in the past few days that he said implied the state health director lied about how testing results were being tracked and that the state misled the public about when the coronavirus was first detected in Missouri.

Watch a replay of the news conference in the player below.

The governor first criticized a story published Tuesday by The Associated Press that detailed Missouri health director Dr. Randall Williams' statements on testing. Williams last week said the state was not combining tests meant to detect active COVID-19 virus and antibody tests in its tracking numbers.

Some states have faced criticism for doing so because it can make the rate of positive tests seem lower.

On Tuesday, Williams said in response to questions that the state had been combining the two but had stopped. Parson said that Williams misspoke last week when he said the state was not combining the test in its numbers.

"Dr. Williams simply made a mistake answering a question in an open briefing, and since then that mistake has been corrected," Parson said.

Parson said the Department of Health and Senior Services explained the reporting in a news release Saturday.

Parson was also critical of a Kansas City Star story that said state data showed coronavirus was detected in Missouri in February, though the first case was publicly disclosed March 7.

State officials said and the Star reported that officials logged people reporting symptoms in early February. Those symptoms were not confirmed to have been caused by COVID-19, Parson said Wednesday.

Testing begins in veterans' homes

Residents and staff at a Mid-Missouri veterans' home will be tested for COVID-19 next week.

Missouri Veterans Commission Acting Director Ryon Richmond said the home in Mexico, Missouri will be the site of tests next week.

The testing is part of the state's expanded testing plan, which includes "sentinel" testing in congregated living facilities including nursing and veterans' homes.

Testing began Tuesday in St. Louis, Richmond said.

Governor promises details on state health order

The state's current health order is expected to expire Sunday, but Parson said he will release more details about what comes next on Thursday.

Parson said he continues to feel Missouri is making progress in its fight against COVID-19, but that "we must continue to be diligent and proactive in our efforts."

The state's stay-at-home order expired May 3 and was replaced by an initial reopening order that includes social distancing and occupancy limits on retail stores.

Some have questioned the order's efficacy after scenes over the Memorial Day weekend of revelers disregarding social distancing at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Governor of Missouri / Missouri / Missouri Politics / News / Politics / Top Stories

Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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