AP NEWS

Missouri records seventh case of the coronavirus

March 17, 2020 GMT
1 of 3
A customer walks away after picking up an online order outside an REI retail store Monday, March 16, 2020, in Brentwood, Mo. The outdoor and recreation retailer has temporarily closed all its stores nationwide as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, but will continue to pay employees during the closure, according to the company's website. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
1 of 3
A customer walks away after picking up an online order outside an REI retail store Monday, March 16, 2020, in Brentwood, Mo. The outdoor and recreation retailer has temporarily closed all its stores nationwide as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, but will continue to pay employees during the closure, according to the company's website. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on Monday announced the first case of coronavirus in the city, raising the total number of cases in Missouri to seven.

Krewson said the person is in their twenties, immediately received medical treatment and self-isolated. St. Louis Director of Health Dr. Fredrick Echols said the individual had traveled to a country where COVID-19 is spreading, landed at an out-of-state airport and then drove to St. Louis.

“No other individuals are at risk from developing COVID-19 from this individual, again because they followed the instructions that were given to them by the city of St. Louis Department of Health,” Echols said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson earlier Monday had announced the state’s sixth case, this one in Greene County in southwestern Missouri.

Across the state, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas banned gatherings of more than 10 people and visits to nursing and retirement homes. He announced all public and private schools in the city must close no later than Wednesday and must remain closed until the emergency declaration is lifted.

Lucas also said entire households must self-isolate if anyone in the home tests positive for the virus and are encouraged to do so if anyone starts showing symptoms of coronavirus.

He said bars and restaurants must only serve carry-out or delivery.

St. Louis-area leaders also recommended that all K-12 schools close by Wednesday at the latest until further notice. Krewson said in a tweet that officials from the city and surrounding counties, including St. Clair and Madison Counties in Illinois, expected to decide soon whether to require the mandatory closure of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Parson said Missouri should be able to conduct thousands of tests per day for the coronavirus and deploy mobile testing sites throughout the state on or around April 1.

Parson and Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said during a news conference that the state’s criteria will change from travel-related and the most severe cases to trying to find people with coughs and fevers of 104 degrees.

“The good news for the time being is that help is on the way,” Parson said. “I think we’re going to be able to see a lot more on the testing side of it that will reassure the people of the state. I think you’ll also see mobile testing sites in different areas around the state” particularly in areas that currently struggle with access to health care.

The governor said state officials are currently following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in reference to whether to close schools, businesses and higher learning facilities, but he noted the situation is fluid and could change.

Parson on Sunday strongly encouraged the cancellation or suspension of public events with more than 50 people following federal health officials’ recommendations that those events be halted in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

He said Monday that he is aware of the impact this could have on businesses and the economy, but that public safety must be the state’s top priority.

“Missouri has been through tough times before and we’re going to get through these,” Parson said. “... Right now we’re just asking people to help as much as they can help and (to) try to be responsible.”

On Monday, the Missouri Supreme Court suspended nearly all in-person proceedings in appellate and circuit courts through at least April 3. The order also includes associate, family, juvenile, municipal and probate divisions, with some exceptions. The court said the order would be extended “if circumstances warrant.”

The court said in a news release that the presiding judges in the state’s 46 judicial circuits and chief judges in the three districts of the appeals court will decide how exceptions to the order will be conducted. Judges in those proceedings will have discretion to excuse jurors or other individuals who cannot or should not appear because of the virus.

The court said its order doesn’t affect its ability to consider or rule on matters that don’t require in-person proceedings.

St. Louis’ circuit court on Monday canceled jury trials through April 10 and encouraged judges to use videoconferencing for court appearances.

Also Monday, the Missouri State High School Activities Association canceled semifinal and championship boys and girls basketball games that had been scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Springfield.

The vast majority of people recover from the coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe ones can take three to six weeks get well.

___

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.