Missouri has second coronavirus case as cancellations grow
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri has recorded a second case of the novel coronavirus, officials said Thursday, as events were cancelled across the state because of concerns over COVID-19.
The person is in the early 20s and had recently traveled to Austria, Gov. Mike Parson said at a news conference in Springfield, Missouri. The person was tested Thursday at a Springfield clinic and results returned as positive, Parson said. The patient is quarantined at home with mild symptoms and was expected to recover, he said.
Officials would provide no other information on the patient, but Parsons noted that of 73 tests for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, have been performed so far in Missouri. All but two returned as negative, and both positive results involved travel-related infections. No cases have been found of the virus spreading in Missouri, he said.
The state lab now has the capacity to perform 1,000 COVID-19 tests, and more kits were expected shortly, the governor said.
Also Thursday, Kansas City and St. Louis banned all public events with more than 1,000 attendees.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced that city’s ban and declared a public health emergency Thursday afternoon. The ban will be in effect “until further notice” but includes exceptions for daily activities at schools and churches, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a similar ban shortly after organizers canceled a St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city. St. Louis and Springfield also canceled their parades.
“Protecting all of our residents remains our top priority, which means that how we interact over the weeks and months ahead will need to change dramatically as we confront our current public health challenge,” Lucas said. “I appreciate our community’s understanding during this ever-changing time and encourage all residents to continue exercising good judgment.”
The Department of Corrections on Thursday announced Missouri’s 20 state-run prisons will be closed to visitors for the next 30 days. Attorneys will be permitted to visit their clients. The agency said none of the estimated 26,000 inmates has been diagnosed with the virus.
Missouri’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was a St. Louis-area woman in her 20s who had been studying in Italy and tested positive for the coronavirus last week after returning home.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Several universities in the state have been moving classes online due to the virus that WHO has now labelled a pandemic, while Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said on Twitter late Wednesday that the chamber was cancelling its session next week.
Meanwhile, the German agribusiness giant Bayer AG has reopened a suburban St. Louis campus after an employee whose illness prompted the closure tested negative for the virus.
The campus in Creve Coeur, which is Bayer’s North American headquarters for its Crop Science Division, reopened Thursday after undergoing precautionary cleaning. But the nearby office of its tech-focused subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, remains closed for cleaning, as do Bayer’s campuses in Whippany and Morristown, New Jersey. The Whippany office is the company’s U.S. headquarters for all of its divisions.
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