News | KBIA


Nearly 500 people are hospitalized in the St. Louis region for the coronavirus, including 139 requiring ventilators.

Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said Sunday that 468 patients are hospitalized in the St. Louis area, including 164 in intensive care units, the vast majority of whom are on ventilators.

The patients have either tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, or are showing symptoms and awaiting test results. Garza says the worst is yet to come because the peak is still two to three weeks away.

As Missouri lawmakers prepare to consider emergency funding in response to the coronavirus crisis, the state’s budget director has offered more evidence of the pandemic’s toll on the economy.

Budget Director Dan Haug said Monday that net general revenue collections for March dropped 4.2% compared to March 2019. Lawmakers are scheduled to convene Tuesday and Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson needs their approval to spend what could amount to billions of dollars in federal funding to fight the virus.


Gov. Mike Parson has instituted a statewide stay-at-home order — something many of us have been doing for a while now under the guidance of local governments. And while many of us struggle with the changes, the fact is: If you’re sheltering in place - you’re fortunate.

There are people among us who do not have the luxury of staying at home, perhaps because they don’t have a home. Others have suddenly lost jobs.

If you head downtown in Columbia, you’ll find the sidewalks and parking garages are nearly empty, the schools have closed and many of the systems we have in place to care for the most vulnerable in our community are scrambling to meet the needs of those most in need under this new normal.

What is it like for you if you already were struggling before this crisis, or if you’ve now had the rug and your livelihood pulled out from under you?

Daffy Liu/Missourian

Walker Claridge is trying his best to supply local ranchers, farmers and vegetable growers with an income during a global pandemic.

As the owner of the farm-to-table restaurant Broadway Brewery, he typically buys products from local farmers. But stay-at-home orders and increasing social distancing policies due to COVID-19 have changed Claridge’s business. As a farmer himself, he’s also navigating how to sell 60 to 80 pounds of vegetables and greens a week to his regular buyers.

Morning Newscast for April 6, 2020

7 hours ago

Regional stories from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

Missouri Coronavirus Deaths Rise Over 30

8 hours ago
Doctor's office supplies on desk.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

Missouri reported 10 more COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, although a national database has recorded even more deaths in the state. 

State health officials said 34 people had died from the disease, up from 24 reported on Saturday. A database operated by Johns Hopkins University was reporting 44 deaths in Missouri on Sunday.

State officials said Missouri's official count lagged behind because the state was not requring that deaths be reported within 24 hours. That procedure was scheduled to change starting Sunday.

Doctor's office supplies on desk.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

Missouri is asking medical professionals who are not working to join a specialized state team that responds to critical health emergencies. 

Selected medical workers would become part of the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

The state is asking health care students, retired health care workers or those whose professional registration recently expired to apply online for the team.

Individuals are needed with background in medicine, nursing, allied health, dentistry, biomedicine, laboratory science, logistics and communications.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Farmers and other agricultural sector workers are considered essential under Missouri's new stay-at-home order, but in some ways they are more vulnerable than other workers to COVID-19. That's according to new University of Missouri extension guidelines, which point to the fact that family farming operations often have multiple generations of workers sharing the same equipment. Extension also cites CDC projections which put COVID-19 outbreaks peaking in the middle of planting season as another particular danger.

The first week of Columbia Public Schools’ Grab-and-Go meal delivery is in the books.

The district began delivering meals for students March 30, using routes intending to reach families of students in need of meals while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that many of our families have transportation issues,” Laina Fullum, Columbia Public Schools Director of Nutrition Services, said. “I think it was just automatic in our minds that we were going to do some kind of delivery.”

KBIA's Rebecca Smith's cat, Pip, sleeps on his windowsill bed while keeping her company in her home office.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

When my cat, Pip, started sniffling and sneezing a few weeks ago, I didn’t give it much thought. But as the sneezing continued, I started to get worried – both about Pip, of course, and about how I was going to safely get him to the veterinarian during Columbia’s stay-at-home order.

So, I called my vet and found out they had changed the way appointments were handled. Instead of going into the office with my cat, I would call when I was parked outside, hand Pip over in a carrier from my car, and then talk to the vet over the phone about a treatment plan.

A drive-up, hands-off vet clinic.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

For today's episode as we head into the weekend, we try to think about how great it would be to simply escape right now -- to head to new horizons, a new place or time, and meet new people.

While actual travel is out of the question for most of us while we shelter-in-place because of the coronavirus pandemic, books can still take us places. They lift us up and take us right out of the anxiety, stress and fear we might be experiencing. 

Provided by Matthew Huffman

As COVID-19 cases have gone up in Missouri, more and more stay-at-home orders have gone into effect. But these orders, which are an attempt to reduce transmission, could, in some cases, be increasing the risk of domestic and sexual violence.

Matthew Huffman is the Public Affairs Director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and he spoke with KBIA’s Rebecca Smith about how domestic violence programs offering direct services to survivors – things like shelter, counseling, food, and more – are adapting and where people can still turn for help.

Sarah Hallam / VOX Magazine/KBIA

This week’s Missouri Health Talks is a collaboration with Vox Magazine.

Hilary and Chad Hardesty have been trying to have a baby for more than seven years now, and while their doctors tell them they’re good candidates for IVF, the enormous price tag on the procedure has been a challenge for the couple.

They spoke with reporter Sarah Hallam about their efforts to raise money for IVF, in part, through their website,

Morning Newscast for April 3, 2020

Apr 3, 2020

Regional stories from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

State Responds to Rising Unemployment Due to COVID-19

Apr 3, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

With unemployment claims rising rapidly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri Department of Labor is taking steps to aid both those out of work and impacted businesses.

For workers, the state agency is in the process of waiving the week of waiting requirement before filing for all unemployment claims filed as a result of the coronavirus, according to its website.

Gov. Parson Cuts Spending As Virus Hits Economy

Apr 3, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says he's expecting a $500 million revenue shortfall this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Parson on Wednesday cut roughly $175 million in state government spending to help bridge the gap.

Many of those cuts are to spending for public colleges and universities. Parson blocked more than $61 million from going to public four-year colleges and another $11 million intended for community colleges.

Annie Le / KBIA

Before stay-at-home orders were commonplace, Asian Americans in the St. Louis went out into their communities to spread the word about the 2020 Census.


For high school student Katie Xu, the census means representation in her community.

“I feel that without the Asian Americans filling out the census, not only does that represent how we don't care about American politics, but it tells the lawmakers that we don't care,” Xu said.

Political Commentary: Virus

Apr 2, 2020

I have not read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel Love in the Time of Cholera and it appears the plot doesn’t have much to do with disease, but it certainly has a memorable title and one that is going through my head now, especially “love,” which I’m feeling in abundance toward my family even though, or maybe especially because, we are all isolated from each other in strange and, for us, extremely rare and unfamiliar ways.

Columbia First Responders Changing Procedures to Protect Themselves

Apr 2, 2020

OVID-19 is prompting first responders to make changes to protect themselves and their families.

The Columbia Police Department said its officers will possibly start wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when responding to calls, in a video released on Youtube. The department is continuing to stock up on equipment from past training for law enforcement and other agencies who have given equipment.

MU Cancels Spring Commencements, Will Invite Graduates Back Later

Apr 2, 2020

Spring commencement ceremonies at MU and the other three schools in the University of Missouri System are canceled.

MU, Missouri University of Science & Technology, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Missouri-Kansas City "will celebrate their graduating class in some way virtually and/or set in-person opportunities at a later date," according to a system news release Thursday afternoon.

Sarah Dresser

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, life is stressful for many Missourians.

Normal routines have been thrown out the window during stay-at-home orders, people are dealing with sickness or caring for loved ones who may be sick, and some residents are losing jobs. Even things that used to be routine, like sending kids to school or putting away the groceries, have become stress-inducing.

And while many of us are worrying about staying physically healthy during a disease outbreak, many of us are struggling with a different kind of health problem - managing our mental health during this crisis.

In addition to produce and plants, CHUCK BAY says you'll also find jewelry, hand-carved wood, paintings and more at Columbia's Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market when it opens for the season later this month! April 2, 2020

Regional headlines from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

Coronavirus cases in Missouri are rising at an alarming rate, but health experts say it’s too soon to know if the state is emerging as one of the next hot spots for the pandemic.

Health officials say Missouri has 1,581 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, a jump of 19.1% from Tuesday. Eighteen deaths are blamed on COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Missouri’s first confirmed case was reported March 7 and its second was March 12.

Two weeks ago there were 24 confirmed cases, and 356 just a week ago. Confirmed cases have more than quadrupled since then.

Backers of an effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri say the campaign will likely not get on the ballot this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Missourians for a New Approach has been trying to collect 170,000 signatures to get the question on the November ballot but has only collected 60,000. Dan Viets, the group's chairman, says it's difficult to collect signatures because public gatherings are banned and most people are staying at home.

Columbia Schools Pause on Tests, Assignments for 3 Days

Apr 1, 2020

Effective immediately, Columbia Public Schools will pause tests, assignments and grades for three days to reevaluate instruction in light of COVID-19, according to an email sent to district staff Wednesday morning.

"We need some time to adjust our expectations for staff and students," said the email sent by Jen Rukstad and Jill Brown, assistant superintendents for secondary and elementary education.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

The University of Missouri System will be out $36.5 million for the rest of the current fiscal year as part of a series of spending cuts Governor Mike Parson announced Wednesday. In a statement, UM System President Mun Choi said, "we must all work together to get past this crisis."

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A lot of us are at home right now social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus. And many of us are home with kids, teens, family members - all working together on school-work, homework and professional work between the same four walls.


Outside of those walls, there is a crisis unfolding and there’s no way to avoid the stress that comes with that, whether you are impacted personally and dealing with COVID-19 in the house, or whether you’re just being safe and isolating, or some combination of all of that. 


Needless to say, it's a different experience for each household, whether it's teens missing out on high school; kids who can’t go to the playground; or parents who have become teachers and day-care workers on short notice. Or an older person who thinks all that sounds like the sort of chaos you miss, and are isolating alone. 


In this episode, we’ll be talking about how families and individuals are coping with isolation.

Citizens Memorial Healthcare

As COVID-19 cases have increased exponentially in the U.S., CDC guidelines have led healthcare providers across the country to cancel outpatient procedures and elective surgeries. In rural areas, that's left already struggling clinics and hospitals without a vital source of income. Tim Wolters, director of reimbursement at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar says his health system now has to balance preparing for COVID-19 cases and maintaining staff. 

Citizens Memorial Healthcare

As COVID-19 cases have increased exponentially in the U.S., CDC guidelines have led healthcare providers across the country to cancel outpatient procedures and elective surgeries. In rural areas, that's left already struggling clinics and hospitals without a vital source of income. Tim Wolters, director of reimbursement at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar says his health system now has to balance preparing for COVID-19 cases and maintaining staff.