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FRIDAY UPDATES: Columbia mayor says he’ll pursue mask requirements

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece discussed Boone County's first case of COVID-19 at City Hall on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
ABC 17 News
Columbia Mayor Brian Treece discussed Boone County's first case of COVID-19 at City Hall on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

UPDATE 6 P.M.: Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said Friday that he has asked the city manager to draft an ordinance requiring the use of masks.

Treece made the statement on his Twitter account on a day that Boone County's COVID-19 cases again increased by double digits. The county added 61 cases of COVID-19 between Monday and Friday.

Treece was not available for an interview Friday evening.

It's not clear when the Columbia City Council might consider the ordinance. The council does not have a meeting scheduled until July 6.

Governments around the country have begun to weigh mask requirements as COVID-19's spread accelerates and the U.S. breaks records for new cases. Health officials say masks are key to slowing down the spread of the novel coronavirus.

UPDATE 4:45 P.M.: Boone County recorded 61 new COVID-19 cases between Monday and Friday this week, according to numbers from the Columbia/Boone County health department.

The department reported 15 new cases Friday to reach 334 since the beginning of the pandemic. Despite the increase in positives, the number of active cases decreased by two, to 97, as recoveries offset the new cases.

Two Boone County residents have died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The number of hospitalized Boone County residents started the week at one before going up to seven Thursday. On Friday, the number dropped to six.

The health department reported 200 people in quarantine Friday because they have had close contact with known cases.

Local health officials on Friday added the rate of positive tests among Boone County residents to Boone County's online coronavirus dashboard. In the last week 8.2 percent of county residents tested were positive for the virus. That compares to 0.4 percent from May 1 to May 7.

The cumulative positive rate since May 1 is 1.6 percent.

Cases have increased sharply in recent weeks. Officials say more testing and increasing mobility are contributing to the large increases, with more young people testing positive.

Boone County's hospitals are currently treating 13 COVID-19 patients, with six of them in ICUs and on ventilators. The number includes residents of other counties.

Hospitals here report no shortages in equipment, staff or bed availability.

Cole County reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total to 70 with 10 active. The number of active cases increased two.

Cole County as also seen an increase in COVID-19 cases recently, with 12 new cases reported in the last 10 days. Like Boone County, Cole County has recorded two deaths from the disease.

UPDATE 3:11 P.M.: University of Missouri Human Resource Services said more than 400 university workers were affected by another round of furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts.

MU has posted updates to budget actions made involving university employees over the past several weeks to make up for revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last week, 384 more workers were furloughed, 11 others were laid off and 26 were affected by pay cuts. Since MU started the process, 3,011 workers have been furloughed, 148 were laid off and 1,956 were hit with pay cuts.

The human resources website said the university saved $3.65 million from the furloughs, $6.51 million in layoffs and nearly $5 million in pay cuts. MU saved about $1 million dollars in the budget actions made since last week.

The university did not renew contracts for 33 workers, which saved MU about $1 million.

The website said MU has freed up $16.16 million through the budget actions.

According to the website, the next update on university budget actions will come down July 10.

UPDATE 2:30 P.M.: Missouri's COVID-19 cases increased Friday by the second-highest number of the pandemic, jumping by nearly 500.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 493 new cases Friday to reach 19,914. The jump comes one day after a record increase of 553 that was influenced by delayed reporting from a laboratory, which added 160 cases to the total.

The state added nine COVID-19 deaths Friday to reach 990.

Friday's jump continues a sustained growth in new cases. The average daily new cases from June 18 through Thursday was 359. The average daily increase for May 1-May 7 was about 254. The state's stay-at-home order expired May 4.

The increase Friday was almost the fifth record-setting daily increase in the past week. The United States has also set records multiple times in the last week for new cases, including Thursday.

The high case total Friday was helped by outbreaks in Jasper, McDonald and Newton counties, the state health department said.

Cases have increased 10 percent in the last week in Missouri, according to data posted online by the state health department. Gov. Mike Parson and Dr. Randall Williams, director of the state health department, have attributed the increases to more testing and regional outbreaks.

Testing in a region increases when health officials find a regional outbreak in what officials call a strategy to "box in" the novel coronavirus. Hundreds of tests were administered in southwest Missouri over the weekend after an outbreak at a Tyson poultry plant.

In Mid-Missouri, Boone County is experiencing a dramatic increase in cases, as well, with 42 cases reported between Tuesday and Thursday. Local numbers have not been released for Friday.

County health officials added a chart showing the rate of positive tests to the health department's information hub Friday. The rate was 0.4 percent for May 1 to May 7 but increased to 8.2 percent over the last week.

Officials report 5.5 percent of people tested for COVID-19 statewide have been positive for the live coronavirus. Nearly 349,000 people have been tested.

The state reported 600 COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday, well below the peak of nearly 1,000 in early May. Williams said this week the state is seeing the fewest hospitalizations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ORIGINAL: The Phelps/Maries County Health Department is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak among Great Circle employees at the organization's St. James campus.

The department said on Facebook that eight of the positive cases are in Phelps County residents, two are in Maries County residents and one apiece in residents of Dent and Pulaski counties.

One person is hospitalized while the remaining infected people are quarantined at home, the health department said. The department said it is working with Great Circle and state health officials to contain the spread of novel coronavirus on the Great Circle campus, according to the post.

Cases might increase because everyone at the facility has been tested and some results are pending, the local health department said. The department promised to release an update if new positive results come in.

Great Circle is an organization that provides counseling and behavioral health services for children.

ABC 17 News Team


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