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Missouri to keep testing for coronavirus until funding dries up as it moves to endemic phase

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The state of Missouri will continue to prop up efforts to test for coronavirus and deliver vaccines and treatments for "as long as federal resources persist," according to a presentation linked from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.

The PDF was posted after Wednesday's announcement by Gov. Mike Parson that the state was moving to an endemic phase of dealing with COVID-19. Then change means the state will be pulling back resources related to the pandemic response.

Some of the changes coming area:

  • Dashboard reporting will be reduced to weekly instead of daily
  • COVID-19 will be tracked through hospital surveillance
  • Vaccine testing will continue but eventually shift to traditional health care delivery over time
  • Total cases for the last seven days will be published only once a week by the state
  • Contact tracing is now encouraged at the local level instead of a universal case investigation
  • The state will maintain supplies of personal protective gear for emergency preparedness

State officials say Missouri's new approach will allow state and local officials to detect COVID-19 in the community, determine which variants of are circulating through genomic surveillance and assess disease severity and impact of COVID-19-associated illnesses.

The PDF linked from the health department website states that the coronavirus is expected to continue spreading among communities in Missouri. An endemic phase means that surveillance priority will change from monitoring numbers to monitoring disease severity and societal impact, officials said when announcing the change.

Parson and the state's health director emphasized that the transition of COVID-19 to an endemic disease is not necessarily the end of the pandemic and does not lessen the importance of public health surveillance investigation and response activities.

Although the state is relaxing the way it delivers COVID-19 data Rebecca Roesslet, who works for the Columbia-Boone County Health Department says it plans on keeping things the same.

"Were not making any immediate changes to the data that we're able to share with our public. We post on our information hub Monday through Friday with the most recent case county", said Roesslet.

Kennedy Miller

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