Watch Parson's remarks in full in the player above.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday that Missouri will be shifting to an endemic phase of the COVID pandemic on Friday.
"The new phase means universal contract tracing and individual case investigations will be discontinued and that we will base response and mitigation and strategies on region and community level trends, while focusing less on individual case data" The Governor said.
Gov. Parson said the average daily coronavirus cases are down 98% in Missouri and hospitalizations are down by 86% since the mid-January peak. COVID transmission rates are down to the lowest levels since March 23, 2020 when the pandemic began.
“We don’t know if this virus will ever completely go away, but we do know that there is no longer a need to live in crisis mode and that we can shift our response to meet the current needs of Missourians. The COVID-19 crisis is over in the state of Missouri, and we are moving on,” said Gov. Parson.
During the press conference, Gov. Parson said the state is moving surveillance priority from monitoring case numbers to monitoring disease severity and societal impact as new waves of infection come and go.
“As we enter this phase of our state’s recovery, we continue to encourage Missourians to safeguard their own health and the health of loved ones through tried and true public health measures,” said Department of Health and Senior Services Acting Director Paula Nickelson in a release. “Missourians should feel confident that we will remain vigilant when monitoring COVID-19 levels throughout the state.”
Missouri’s approach moving forward will allow state and local health officials to closely monitor community level of COVID-19, determine which variants of SARS-CoV-2 are circulating through the genomic surveillance, and assess disease severity and impact of COVID-19-associated illnesses.
"We will transition to an endemic recovery phase and begin responding to COVID like we do other viruses."
Beginning Friday, the Department of Health and Senior Services will provide weekly dashboard updates that will include 7-day case rate data, activity by region and county, statewide data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, and circulating virus variants. This is a flexible approach allowing accommodation for future surges, should they occur, and require more frequent updates and additional datasets.