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THURSDAY UPDATES: Morgan County adds six new COVID-19 cases

UPDATE 9:30 P.M.: Morgan County added six new COVID-19 cases Thursday, sending the total from 16 to 22.

The Morgan County Health Center said in a release on Facebook that it is investigating a cluster of cases but did not identify where that cluster was centered.

“While the appearance of cases can cause uncertainty within the community, to protect their privacy, we cannot provide additional details about the individuals,” the health center said. “We do want people to know that, as we do in all cases, we are identifying and contacting those at risk, and providing guidance for isolation or quarantine as appropriate.”

The department said the cases appear to be within a small number of people with familial connections and that community spread does not appear likely.

Other Mid-Missouri counties also counted new cases Thursday. Cole, Moniteau, Pettis and Montgomery counties each added one new case Thursday.

Cole County’s cases rose to 79 but the number of active cases remained at 14.

UPDATE 6 P.M.: The Jefferson City School District on Thursday confirmed its plans for a graduation delayed by COVID-19 and set a date for releasing details about re-entering buildings in the fall.

Graduation will take place July 31 after initial dates were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent health rules limiting crowd sizes. Aug. 1 is reserved as the rain date.

The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. at Adkins Stadium, Jefferson City High School Principal Bob James said in a letter to parents Thursday.

The district plans to provide extra seating to allow social distancing, to limit contact during the ceremony and provide streaming video of the ceremony online.

The district also said Thursday that it will release a plan for returning to school buildings in the fall on July 15.

The district said there are no plans to alter the Aug. 24 date for the start of the school year. The district said in a news release that most parents indicated in a survey they would be likely or very likely to send their students to in-seat classes in the fall if special measures such as social distancing, increased sanitation and temperature checks are in place.

UPDATE 4:42 P.M.: Columbia and Boone County health officials are warning patrons of a Columbia restaurant and bar that they might have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said in a news release that patrons at Room 38, 38 N. Eighth St., in downtown Columbia could have been exposed between June 22 and June 25.

People who were at Room 38 those days are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

Those with symptoms should isolate themselves pending a COVID-19 test, officials said.

The announcement came the same day Boone County set a record for new COVID-19 cases with 39 in one day to reach 429.

Active cases jumped by 30, from 107 to 137.

Despite the record new cases, only four Boone County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, down from seven last week.

Health officials report 298 people in quarantine because they've been exposed to known cases, according to the health department's COVID-19 information hub.

The positive test rate shot up to 12.2 percent for the week ending June 29. That number was at 0.4 to start May.

Boone County's hospitals reported no shortage of equipment, staff or beds Thursday.

UPDATE 4:08 P.M.: Boone County shattered its record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday, just hours after Columbia Mayor Brian Treece made his case for a mask requirement.

The City of Columbia said in a news release that the Columbia/Boone County Health Department had recorded 39 new cases since Wednesday by 4 p.m. Thursday. The old record for cases in a single day was 25, set Tuesday.

Officials said earlier Thursday that the county reached 100 cases 55 days into the pandemic. Cases increased from 300 to 400 in just eight days, officials said.

The rate of Boone County residents testing positive for the virus has increased from 0.4 percent in early May to 12.2 percent for the week ending Monday, according to the city news release.

The 39 new cases will bring the county's total to 429.

The rapid increase has strained health officials' ability to track down people who have been in contact with the infected.

"Our contact tracing efforts have quickly become overwhelmed and positivity rates continue to climb," Stephanie Browning, health department director, said in the news release. "We are working closely with our city and county partners to implement additional mitigation measures in order to avoid returning to more strict regulations."  

The Columbia City Council will consider a mask ordinance Monday that would require face coverings be worn in businesses and outdoors where social distancing isn't possible. The emergency measure will require six yes votes out of the seven-member council.

UPDATE 2:20 P.M.: Missouri added 356 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, falling below recent record gains.

The number of cases statewide rose to 22,283 with Thursday's increase. Deaths grew by five to reach 1,022.

Missouri is one of several states that have experienced record increases in new cases over the past two weeks. The daily record, set one week ago, is 553 new cases.

The United States hit a new record for daily cases Thursday, climbing above 50,000.

Thursday's increase was well below the rolling seven-day case average as of Wednesday -- 437. However, the number is much higher than the 254-case average from May 1 to May 7, the week that Missouri's stay-at-home order expired.

The state reported Thursday that cases have increased by about 9 percent in the past week. That number was down from the nearly 10 percent reported Wednesday.

Hospitalizations stood Thursday at 598, well below the peak of nearly 1,000 in early May.

The Missouri Hospital Association's most recent regional report says hospitals in the central region of the state have 22 percent of their capacity free and 45 percent of ICU capacity free as of Saturday.

The report says the positive rate for COVID-19 tests in the region between June 21 and Saturday was 2.8 percent.

Columbia and Boone County officials have not released an official case count for Thursday, but said in a tweet that the county has surpassed 400 cases.

Officials say the county reached 100 cases 55 days into the pandemic. The most recent hundred cases were reported over just eight days.

The department released those numbers after Columbia Mayor Brian Treece held a news conference to make the case for an ordinance requiring masks.

UPDATE 12:19 P.M.: Boone County health officials said workers at a south Columbia Mexican restaurant were exposed to COVID-19 recently.

Scott Clardy with the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department said workers at the Las Margaritas Corporate Lake location were exposed to coronavirus.

The restaurant posted on Facebook Tuesday the business had temporarily closed. According to the post the restaurant closed for "everyone's health and safety."

It's unclear if any restaurant workers tested positive for COVID-19.

A manager at Las Margaritas' downtown location said the restaurant had no comment on the south location's temporary closure.

Clardy said the restaurant decided to close for two weeks. He added health workers spoke with the business about disinfection and cleaning guidelines.

ORIGINAL: Missouri unemployment claims went up for the first time since mid-April, ending a 10-week streak of falling jobless claims.

According to Missouri Department of Labor data, initial unemployment claims in the last week of June were at 19,071, up from 17,165 the week before.

Thursday's increase in claims is the smallest since the COVID-19 pandemic started. State labor department data said the next lowest increase in claims was in the second week of April, claims rose by more than 10,000 from 91,049 to 101,722.

As of Thursday, more than 686,000 Missourians have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

The US added more than 4 million jobs in the last week bringing the unemployment rate to 11.1%.

Columbia / Email Alert – Breaking News / Missouri / News / Top Stories

ABC 17 News Team

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