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THURSDAY UPDATES: University of Missouri council rejects early fall start

Jesse Hall, where University of Missouri administrative offices are located, is seen behind the columns on the Francis Quadrangle.
ABC 17 News
Jesse Hall, where University of Missouri administrative offices are located, is seen behind the columns on the Francis Quadrangle.

UPDATE 5:50 P.M.: The University of Missouri Faculty Council rejected Thursday a proposal to start fall classes 10 days early.

Under the proposal from MU leaders, the fall semester would have started Aug. 12 and in-person classes would have ended at the Thanksgiving break on Nov. 20. Finals would start Nov. 30. Classes would be held on Labor Day.

The council rejected the proposal 23-6, with three voting members absent.

The university said in a news release Wednesday that the proposal would have to pass the council before going before the Board of Curators.

MU had suggested the change in part to cut down on travel in the winter months when viral illnesses are more active. Health experts have said the country could see a surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall.

The council instead voted to start classes on Aug. 24 and include a Labor Day break. The council approved a proposal to move to online-only classes after Thanksgiving break and to have finals remotely if needed.

An MU spokesman said the Board of Curators will not have to approve changes suggested by the council Thursday. The spokesman said MU will work with the council if any other changes are proposed.

UPDATE 5 P.M.: Boone County health officials reported seven new COVID-19 cases Thursday, continuing a recent trend.

The county has reported 19 cases so far in June after going much of April and May with little to no daily case growth. Local and state stay-at-home orders expired May 4 and were replaced by less restrictive reopening orders.

Local officials have said case growth was expected as orders began to loosen.

The county reported 36 active cases Thursday, an increase of just three from the day before. Of the 169 cases, 131 have been released from isolation and two have died.

The latest death was reported Wednesday. Local health officials said the person who died was admitted to a hospital for a different reason but tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said Thursday that state epidemiologists told local officials that the death should be classified as a COVID-19 death.

Williams' department tested nearly 1,500 people this week during a community testing event at Hickman High School in Columbia. It wasn't clear how many of those tests contributed to Thursday's increase.

Cole County was down to one active case Thursday, with 57 cases reported total. The county last reported a new case on May 24.

UPDATE 4:10 P.M.: Saline County Sheriff Cindi Mullins said 13 inmates in the county jail have tested positive for COVID-19.

Mullins said all inmates and staff members were tested after an inmate developed symptoms on Thursday. Mullins reported 12 cases in a news release on Wednesday, but said Thursday that she received word of another positive case.

Only one of the inmates who tested positive reported symptoms, Mullins said. No staff members tested positive.

Mullins said the jail is putting inmates who test positive in quarantine and used UV lights and liquid disinfectants to kill coronavirus.

Inmates are isolated when they enter the jail to see if they show symptoms of COVID-19, Mullins said.

The Saline County Health Department reported 280 cases Wednesday with 38 of them active.

Saline County, with a population of about 23,000, has the highest number of cases per 100,000 people in the state.

Case reported in Randolph County nursing home

Randolph County Health Department administrator Sharon Whisenand said Thursday that a long-term health care facility worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

Whisenand did not name the facility where the case was identified.

The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services notified Randolph County health officials Thursday morning, she said.

Testing of all staff and residents, about 125 in total, was set to begin Thursday, Whisenand said.

The case is the first in a congregated living facility -- a category that includes nursing homes, retirement villages and physical rehabilitation centers -- in Randolph County.

Cases have been reported at five such facilities in Boone County, two in Moniteau and one in Cooper County.

ORIGINAL: The number of COVID-19 cases in Missouri increased by 290 on Thursday, the largest jump in a month.

Cases reached 14,057 on Thursday. It was the biggest increase in cases reported since May 4.

State and local officials have repeatedly said they expect cases to increase as regulations limiting crowds and businesses are relaxed. A statewide stay-at-home order expired May 4.

Some local counties have also seen surges, such as Boone County, which has recorded 33 cases since May 28. In Audrain County, cases have grown from two to 101 in less than a month.

The state says 6.3 percent of those tested for live coronavirus have been positive. Statewide cases have increased 8.2 percent over the past seven days, according to data on the state's coronavirus dashboard.

Missouri recorded three more deaths on Thursday, reaching 789. All but 20 of those deaths are in people 50 and older.

The Missouri Hospital Association said 548 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, a drop of 28 cases from the day before. More than 1,200 ventilators were available in the hospitals surveyed.

Updated totals for Thursday were not available.

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ABC 17 News Team


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