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Missouri could receive more COVID-19 tests this week after first diagnosis

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri, along with every other state, could receive more tests for the deadly new strain of Coronavirus, called COVID-19, this week.

Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said there are about 800 tests available in the state on Sunday. At this point, she said 26 have been used.

"We're adequately supplied for the current status of our state," Cox told ABC 17 News in a text message Sunday.

Rep. Kip Kendrick (D - Columbia) said more will likely be needed.

"We could always use more," Kendrick said. "I assume at some point there could be a shortage situation and we will be requesting more as is every other state at this point."

Missouri Gov. Parson announced the first presumptive positive case of Coronavirus in St. Louis County on Saturday

"The shortage of test kits at this point is going to be somewhat problematic obviously for our state lab who is very capable of testing for coronavirus," Kendrick said.

In a press conference Saturday, Congressional Rep. Ann Wagner (R - Missouri) said the FDA will be sending out 4 million tests across the country by the end of next week.

It's unclear how many of those tests will come to Missouri, according to Cox.

Kendrick is a ranking member of the Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention, which was formed as an arm of the state's response to the potential outbreak of COVID-19.

He said the committee's role will change, especially now with the first presumptive positive test of the novel Coronavirus in Missouri.

"This is going to be an evolving situation for the state, for the nation and for the world," Kendrick said. " We will do out part to make sure accurate information is getting out to the public and that we have the resources in place to make sure there's a response that's adequate from the state level."

While Kendrick said this is first and foremost a public health concern, the state will likely take a hit financially.

As the minority ranking member of the budget committee, Kendrick said the state is weeks away from passing a budget, but the committee is still having conversations about the fiscal impacts of COVID-19.

"We've clearly seen market disruptions happening, we've seen the federal reserve step in and cut interest rates," Kendrick said. "We'll continue to see likely some economic impacts because of the spread of coronavirus."

The federal government is planning on allocating more money to states across the country, which Kendrick said could be crucial for Missouri's response.

"State budgets are tight," Kendrick said. "Freeing up resources of general revenue becomes a bit more difficult."

Another route for the state to get federal funding is by declaring a state of emergency, which governors of at least nine states have already done.

"Part of declaring a state of emergency is to be able to draw down more federal resources to be able to respond more quickly," Kendrick said.

Kendrick said those dollars could potentially go toward helping offset some of the economic impacts from across the state.

The most important thing people can do, Kendrick said, is stay informed from credible sources like The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I would encourage everyone to take a deep breath, not to panic but do what they can to prepare," Kendrick said. " Our response as individuals is going to be critical in slowing the spread of the coronavirus and also minimizing its potential impact on our society."

You can follow the outbreak with this interactive map of confirmed cases compiled by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Health / Health / Missouri Politics / News / Politics / Top Stories / Top Stories

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday early evening shows, as well as Saturday nights.

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