Meiying Wu / KBIA

The coronavirus crisis has sparked tremendous changes in the lives of people all over the world, and in the last couple of weeks the crisis has arrived full-on for us Missourians.


In the recent weeks, MU moved its classes online, then closed its dorms and sent its students home. Gov. Parson declared a state of emergency. Libraries, restaurants, offices, theaters and more have closed their doors. Elections have been postponed. Many of us are working from home, isolating with their families, or alone, and practicing social distancing.


It’s human nature to want to lean on our communities and hold our loved ones close. But in times like this, that could mean putting those loved ones at risk.

Las autoridades de la ciudad de Columbia y del condado de Boone han emitido una nueva orden por la que se instruye a la población a permanecer en casa, así como se suspende a todos los establecimientos «no esenciales».  Brian Treece, alcalde de Columbia, dijo que la intención de la orden de Quedarse en casa es disminuir al máximo la cantidad de gente en lugares públicos, para así limitar la transmisión del virus COVID-19 o Coronavirus.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

By now, most people will know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider older individuals "at higher risk" for serious complications of COVID-19, but there are several other groups that also have higher risk – and are maybe not as obvious to the naked eye. 

Global Journalist: Balancing fear and facts while covering a pandemic

Mar 24, 2020
Journalists sitting far apart at a press conference in Germany
Markus Schreiber / Associated Press

  Fox News National Correspondent Bryan Llenas, was sitting in an editorial meeting in Manhattan in early February when he received a call that rocketed him out of his chair.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in nearby Bayonne, N.J. had returned from a trip to China, and four people on board were being screened for COVID-19.

Leaders from the City of Columbia and Boone County announced a new order instructing people to stay at home, and suspending "non-essential" businesses. Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said the order is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing the amount of people in public spaces. 

Under the order, residents should only leave home for what city officials have designated as essential activities. Those activities include getting food, medical supplies, and taking care of family-members in other households. The order also designates essential businesses allowed to continue, which include health care facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, construction companies, and a handful of others.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

MU Health Care says it has upped its response to the COVID-19 pandemic to its highest level. The health system says evidence that people have become infected here in mid-Missouri, rather than while traveling, triggered the move. So far the increased response level has meant screening employees for symptoms and banning most visitors to MU Health facilities.

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.”

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

Two more people in Boone County have tested positive for COVID-19, the city of Columbia reported in a Thursday evening news release.

The two new positive cases involved people in their 60s and 70s. Both are related to out-of-state contact with another person who had tested positive.

This brings the total number of positive cases discovered in Boone County to three. The first person diagnosed, who was in their 60s, died Wednesday.

UM Campuses to Shut Down Through April 12

Mar 20, 2020
Jesse Hall and MU columns.
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Starting Monday, all four campuses in the University of Missouri System are closing. No one will physically work on campus unless directed otherwise, UM System President Mun Choi said in a systemwide email Thursday afternoon.

The shutdown will continue through April 12 and is meant to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

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. 

A Boone County resident has become the first person confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in the Missouri. Columbia Mayor Brian Treece made the announcement alongside Governor Mike Parson at the Capitol this afternoon.

Treece said the patient’s family called emergency services early this morning, and emergency responders then transported the person to University Hospital, where the patient later died.

The six emergency responders who transported the patient were then isolated at the hospital for testing. Treece says they are currently being quarantined in Boone County.

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, also known as DESE, has made the decision to close all Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled. The closure begins on Wednesday, March 18.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

MU Health Care started drive-through testing for COVID-19 in the parking lot of the Mizzou softball stadium. The system announced the station will be open for testing from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, including on the weekend. 

Anyone wanting to get a test will first need an order from a healthcare provider. MU Health is offering free virtual screenings for people who think they may have the disease on its website

First Positive COVID-19 Cases Confirmed in Mid-Missouri

Mar 18, 2020
Columbia City Hall
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Two people, one in Boone County and one in Cole County, have tested positive for COVID-19, making them the first confirmed cases of the virus in mid-Missouri, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

The individual who tested positive in Boone County is in their 60s and is currently self-isolating at home, according to MU Health Care, where the patient has been treated. The case — one of 16 known in Missouri as of Tuesday night — is related to travel from another country.

Missouri Lab Says It Has Developed Test for Coronavirus

Mar 18, 2020
Doctor's office supplies on desk.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

A clinical lab in Missouri says it has developed a test for the novel coronavirus that is more than 99% accurate. 

KCUR reports that Viracor Eurofins in Lee's Summit claims it is capable of performing more than 1,000 tests per day and returning results the same day.

Officials say the test would allow for expanding testing to patients who don't currently meet the eligibility criteria for public laboratory testing established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

In a press conference Tuesday night announcing the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Boone County, Mayor Brian Treece also announced an emergency order to stem the spread of the disease. Following a resolution the city council adopted at the previous night's meeting, Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning issued the order, which restricts gatherings as well as restaurant and bar capacities.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece announced Monday afternoon he would be putting an emergency resolution before the city council in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution would recommend prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more, putting restrictions on gatherings of more than 25 people, and limiting restaurant and bar capacities in Columbia. 

Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, the Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention for MU Healthcare, left, Dr. Ashley Millham, the Medical Director for Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services, middle and Lucio Bitoy talked COVID-19 prep in MO
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

“The ultimate goal is to slow down the spread and decrease the transmission.”

KBIA’s Rebecca Smith sat down with Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, the Medical Director of Infection Contol and Prevention for MU Health Care, and two individuals from Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services – Medical Director Dr. Ashley Millham and Public Inforamtion Officer Lucio Bitoy – to discuss some of the preparations that are underway to prevent, and if necessary, manage the spread of COVID-19 in Mid-Missouri.

There have been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri: two in St. Louis County, three in Greene County, and one in Henry County. 

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
Doctor's office supplies.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

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.

Missouri Has Second Coronavirus Case As Cancellations Grow

Mar 13, 2020
Doctor's office supplies.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

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
Doctor's office supplies.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

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.

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.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

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.