JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri officials on Wednesday touted the state's progress in ramping up its COVID-19 testing.
Gov. Mike Parson, speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing in the Missouri Capitol, said the state averaged 8,000 tests per day last week, beating the 7,500 daily test goal set weeks ago.
Watch a replay of the news conference in the player below.
"The more testing we do, the more knowledge we have on the situation in Missouri, and the more confidence we can give Missourians as we work through the recovery process," Parson said.
The governor has repeatedly stressed the importance of testing to giving consumers confidence and bolstering economic recovery.
The state health department with the help of local hospitals and the Missouri National Guard completed nearly 1,500 tests in the Hickman High School parking lot in Columbia on Monday and Tuesday. Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said 721 tests were administered Monday and another 766 on Tuesday.
Cox said her department did not have data Wednesday afternoon on the results of the testing.
The state health department tweeted earlier Wednesday that 6.4 percent of those tested statewide since the beginning of the pandemic have been positive.
The state had tested more than 211,000 Missourians for the live coronavirus as of Wednesday.
State health director Dr. Randall Williams said medical care providers asked him to encourage the public to schedule routine medical care again. Many of those appointments were scrapped while stay-at-home orders were in place and the health care industry has taken a major economic hit from the revenue loss.
Parson visits Columbia
Parson said he met with city and county officials, clergy and education leaders in Columbia on Wednesday.
The conversation covered several topics including COVID-19 testing, the economy, the state budget picture and demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.
Parson said Monday that he is cutting $41 million from higher education and another $131 million from K-12 education to balance the current fiscal year budget. This is on top of cuts to state funding made earlier in the pandemic.
The next fiscal year begins July 1.
Parson also thanked protesters and law enforcement for a peaceful night of protests in the state Tuesday. People have taken to the streets in cities including Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield to call for justice after George Floyd died while a Minneapolis police officer had a knee on his neck.