Coronavirus | KBIA


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The number of positive coronavirus cases in Missouri grew to more than 250, with eight deaths, and state officials are attributing some of the increase to more testing. 

The state health department reported 255 cases as of Tuesday, up from 183 on Monday.

The deaths include three women who lived at an assisted-living center in Springfield, with a fourth woman who lives there hospitalized.

Several health care centers and systems are operating mobile testing sites. The state now lists 28 places offering testing.

Reporters wearing medical masks raise hands to seek recognition at a Beijing press conference.
Wu Hong / European Pressphoto Agency/EFE

During the coronavirus outbreak, Global Journalist is talking to some of the workers on the frontlines. They don't always get the recognition of doctors and nurses, but journalists also are risking — and in some cases — giving their lives to get information to the public.

In this first in a series of podcasts. Missouri School of Journalism students interview a Voice of America reporter how he navigated China's closed society to report on the outbreak.


If you log onto social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, users are sharing their hobbies and artistry online due in large part to people isolating themselves in their homes whether by mandate or choice. 

That’s what happened to Shannon Morris. 

“I just recently joined a band and we had our first gig coming up and it got cancelled,” Morris says. “So I thought well, you know, we could always just livestream a practice.”

State officials say anyone entering Missouri's prisons will undergo enhanced screening in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The Missouri Department of Corrections says anyone entering any department office or facility will be asked several health-related questions but for now the agency will not take temperatures. 

A new survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests they expect the economy to slow down over the next few months as the nation deals with the coronavirus outbreak.

The overall index for the region fell to 35.5 in March from February's healthy 51.6 reading. Any score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy. 

House Approves COVID-19 Funding for Local Health Agencies, Other Needs

Mar 16, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Dedicating additional funds to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic was a priority of a rare Sunday meeting of the House Budget Committee.

Lawmakers met well into the evening but started their session by approving a recommendation from the governor's office that would allow the spending of approximately $13 million on the state's coronavirus response, money that State Budget Director Dan Haug said the state is expecting from the federal government.

Officials Announce 5th COVID-19 Case in Missouri

Mar 16, 2020
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Missouri officials confirmed late Saturday that a fifth person has tested positive for coronavirus in the state.

The Department of Health and Senior Services said the latest case involves a patient in Greene County and is travel-related. Officials are working is anyone who'd come in close contact with the patient was exposed to the disease.

The announcement came hours after state officials released new details about the fourth COVID-19 case in Missouri.

The University of Missouri says it is now planning on holding all classes remotely through the end of the semester, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a statement Friday evening, university president Mun Choi writes all in-person classes at its campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Rolla and Kansas City will be suspended. Plans for final exams and commencement are still pending. 

Dormitories and dining halls will remain open, as will the university’s libraries, but recreation centers on all four campuses will close.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

In many ways, Wednesday felt like spring break had already come to the University of Missouri in Columbia. Two days before the governor would issue a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were laying around on the quad, playing wiffle ball, taking dogs for walks; relaxing in the knowledge they wouldn’t have to worry about classes for the rest of the week.

That’s because the university canceled classes to give professors two days to prepare to move all their classes online, in the face of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The bad news is yes, your pet can get the coronavirus; the good news (if you want to call it that) is that you can't get it from them and they can't get it from you. Guest: CB CHASTAIN, MU Veterinary Health Center | Also, Showcase CoMo is all about putting local businesses in the spotlight, and all under one roof! WHITNEY SCHIEBER and HEATHER BROWN tell us about the variety of participants expected at this year's event. (4:37) March 13, 2020

Missouri Has Second Coronavirus Case As Cancellations Grow

Mar 13, 2020
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Missouri officials say the state has a second case of the novel coronavirus. 

Gov. Mike Parson announced that the patient is in the early 20s and had recently traveled to Austria.

The patient submitted to a test on Thursday and was found to be positive for COVID-19. 

Parson said the patient is quarantined at home and is expected to recover. He said cases of patients with the virus are travel-related.

St. Louis meanwhile has joined Kansas City in banning all public events with more than 1,000 people in response to the coronavirus.

Assisted Living Centers Wrestle With COVID-19

Mar 13, 2020

Assisted living centers around Columbia have begun taking steps to ensure the safety of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents as the COVID-19 response escalates rapidly nationwide.

A number of homes in Columbia are stopping or limiting visitation, enhancing health screening of staff and guests and taking other steps to deal with COVID-19, which is particularly deadly to older populations.

The Bluffs is only allowing caregivers to have access to residents, said Donna Bowers, executive director of the facility.

Missouri Lawmakers Discuss Plans to Handle Coronavirus

Mar 11, 2020
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State senators and House representatives met in a joint committee to discuss Missouri’s preparedness for the probable spread of coronavirus on Tuesday.

Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said the state is well-prepared and has plenty of resources in the case of an outbreak. The state has the ability to test up to 1,000 patients and has only used about 40. Only one test has been classified as a “presumptive positive,” in St. Louis County.

How do you cover the COVID-19 virus – and all of the other news of the day – without putting your staff at an additional risk? It’s a question newsroom managers are grappling with right now.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

At a press conference with Columbia Mayor Brian Treece Thursday, University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright emphasized that no cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state. 

He said the university is in communication with students who came back early from study abroad trips in Italy and South Korea, and the protocol for them is self-isolation. Cartwright also said the university is looking into teaching classes remotely in case an outbreak occurs.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

While there have yet to be any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri, there have nonetheless been fears of what an outbreak would mean for the state. Lucio Bitoy, from Columbia and Boone County Public Health and Human Services says his department is on a weekly call with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and advises people take the usual pre-cautions that they would to avoid the flu. 

In an email, the department said it had learned from the H1N1 outbreak of 2009 that its partnerships with community health providers and non-profits are important in responding to outbreaks, and that plans need to be fluid and adaptable to succeed. 

Journalists across the United States are finding themselves affected by the spread of the coronavirus. What’s the biggest challenge facing the news media as the epidemic spreads?

Doctor's office supplies.
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Missouri health officials are keeping tabs on several dozen people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus or traveled to places that put them at risk of exposure. 

But so far, no one in Missouri has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

State health officials sent several potential cases to the federal Centers for Disease Control for testing.

On Thursday, the state health department said it received federal approval to run such tests its own health lab, which should speed up the results.

The Pentagon’s latest budget request to Congress includes a significant cut to the Stars and Stripes. If passed, Defense Department officials say, the money could be moved to warfighting efforts, and it could communicate to troops directly. But, would it still meet the mission of an independent press?