Missouri COVID-19 | KBIA

Missouri COVID-19

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Missouri has entered its sixth month of navigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and for dozens of health departments across the state, CARES Act funding has been slow to arrive.

That means crucial public-health positions like contact tracers and case investigators have been left unfilled. So, Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services has found one creative stop-gap – Masters in Public Health student volunteers.

Green Leaf Dental Care

Many things have changed for dental practices since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – starting with several months of closures dealing with only oral health emergencies. Now, dentists are having to figure out how to preserve PPE, or personal protective equipment, enforce social distancing and minimize the risk of disease spread as they reopen their practices.

And while these are serious challenges, some practitioners and oral health advocates are encouraged at a possible positive outcome of the ongoing pandemic – the increased interest in and implementation of teledentistry.

MCDHH Facebook Page

The Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing announced today that they’re making clear, accessible masks available to Missourians.

These accessible masks have clear fronts, which allow people to clearly see an individual’s mouth while they speak. This aspect of communication is critical for those who read lips and an integral part of effective communication for those who speak American Sign Language.

Provided by Jordan Parshall

Many routine medical procedures have been postponed or rescheduled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but there is one common medical condition that cannot be put off so easily – pregnancy.

So, hospitals in Mid-Missouri have had to determine the best ways to keep moms, babies and staff safe, as well as reduce anxiety for expectant mothers.

Meiying Wu

Today, new guidance was announced for a wider reopening of businesses and activity in Columbia and Boone County.

According to the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, there have been 108 positive COVID-19 cases in the area, with nine being active and one person hospitalized.

Dr. John Dane, left, wears a light blue polo and glasses. Gary Harbison, right, wears a dark blue button up and glasses.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Dr. John Dane is the state Dental Director and Gary Harbison is the executive director of the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health.

They spoke about some of the concerns they have about the possible long-term impacts of COVID-19 on oral health, as many dental clinics have been closed and Missourians may have gotten out of a normal oral health routine.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / KBIA

Starting Monday, May 18, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will be recommending more testing in long-term care facilities, in an effort to increase COVID-19 testing within high-risk environments.

Coronavirus Cases Pass 10,000, Deaths Top 500 in Missouri

May 13, 2020
Doctor's office supplies on desk.
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Both the number of confirmed cases and deaths from the coronavirus in Missouri reached somber milestones Tuesday: Cases topped 10,000 and the number of deaths exceeded 500. 

The state health department reported 88 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 10,006. Thirty-six new deaths were reported. Since March, 524 people in Missouri have died from the virus.

U.S. Governors Aim to Boost Production of Medical Supplies

May 11, 2020
Doctor's office supplies on desk.
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Some U.S. governors are seeking to bolster their home-state production of vital medical supplies and protective equipment after difficulties in buying such items during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Until now, the U.S. has relied heavily on foreign countries such as China for medical supplies and personal protective equipment. The governors of Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Missouri all said this week that they hope to develop more in-state manufacturing of personal protective equipment to ensure its availability in a crisis and to drive down shipping costs.

Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers are trying to spare colleges and universities from budget cuts despite plummeting revenues. 

House and Senate negotiators on Thursday agreed to avoid state funding cuts to community colleges. Four-year schools will also get stable funding, but only if the state gets more federal aid.

The agreement came the same day state Budget Director Dan Haug announced net revenue collections dropped more than 54% in April compared to the same time last year. So far this year overall revenues decreased more than 6%.

Over 50,000 Missourians Filed for Unemployment Last Week

May 8, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

State labor officials say more than 50,000 Missourians filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week. While still a high number, it marked the third straight week of declines in claims. 

More than 495,000 people have filed new unemployment claims since March 21.

St. Joseph officials say an employee of a Missouri pork plant where hundreds of workers tested positive for the coronavirus has died from the virus. The city said the man, who worked at Triumph Foods in St. Joseph, had underlying health conditions.

Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is urging state residents to support businesses that are slowly reopening. 

The governor said Tuesday that Missourians should continue to practice social distancing and safe habits but noted Missouri-based, smaller businesses in particular need customers' support.

His stay-at-home order ended Monday.

Missouri Senate Tries to Spare Colleges From Budget Cuts

May 6, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri senators are trying to save colleges and universities from budget cuts after the coronavirus paralyzed the state's economy. 

Senators on Tuesday voted against a 10% cut in state funding to public colleges and universities. The House proposed the cut to balance next year's budget, which begins July 1.

Senators are hoping that Congress will send Missouri more federal aid so the state can avoid those cuts to higher education.

New Restrictions Planned as Missouri State Offices Reopen

May 4, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri residents and state employees will find some new restrictions before they can enter state office buildings after Gov. Mike Parson's stay-at-home order ends Monday. 

The Missouri Office of Administration says different state agencies will determine which offices will be open. Services that will be open include motor vehicles and driver licenses, Bureau of Vital Records, motor vehicle inspections and driver’s tests.

Businesses Shuttered by Virus Begin Reopening in Missouri

May 4, 2020

Business began reopening Monday in Missouri, although some cities hit hard by the coronavirus are keeping restrictions in place a little longer.

In lifting the statewide stay-at-home order, Gov. Mike Parson placed no limit on the size of social gatherings if people maintain the current 6-foot (1.83 meters) social distancing efforts. But some businesses — such as retail stores — will be required to take extra steps, such as limiting occupancy.

Provided by Louise Secker

In 2011, a devastating EF5 tornado tore through the city of Joplin, and in the wake of that disaster, Lafayette House was there to provide services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Louise Secker is the Director of Development for Lafayette House in Joplin. The shelter assists survivors of domestic and sexual violence, as well as people with substance use disorders. She spoke with KBIA’s Rebecca Smith about how the lessons of the 2011 Joplin tornado have helped them adjust to delivering care to survivors during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

MU Health Care's main campus, near Stadium Blvd. in downtown Columbia.
Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Gov. Mike Parson says coronavirus hospitalizations across Missouri are down significantly since peaking in early April, a key parameter in allowing the state to reopen. 

The Republican governor has outlined several metrics that he considers important in his decision to allow businesses and organizations to reopen starting Monday.

He said Tuesday that an important part of the data is the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Diane McMillen

For hundreds of elderly and disabled residents in Missouri, personal care attendants, or PCAs, are a lifeline that stave off isolation and help them stay out of nursing homes. The field was already facing a shortage of workers before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but now, things are even worse.

Some Missouri Businesses Reopen with COVID-19 Precautions

Apr 27, 2020

Some businesses near St. Louis are reopening with some safety measures in place, after local officials lifted restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the relaxation of the Franklin County order allowed golf courses, movie theaters, concert halls, gyms, fitness studios, tanning salons, bowling alleys and skating rinks to reopen Saturday as long as they adhere to social-distancing guidelines.

Columbia and Boone County Extend Stay-at-Home Order to May 3

Apr 23, 2020
Meiying Wu / KBIA

The Columbia and Boone County stay-at-home order will now go through May 3, according to a news release from the city.

An extension of the original order, which began March 25 and was set to end Friday, had been signaled in recent comments by local officials.

Majority of State Businesses Can Reopen Starting May 4

Apr 22, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Gov. Mike Parson said the majority of Missouri businesses will be able to start reopening May 4.

“I think we are going to be able to execute the plan” of reopening most businesses in the state, such as barber shops and restaurants,” Parson said during a Tuesday news conference at the Capitol.

State in Multimillion Dollar Dispute Over Faulty Masks

Apr 20, 2020

A potential legal battle is brewing over more than $8 million the state spent on masks it purchased for COVID-19 protection that are believed to be faulty.

Earlier this week, the state recalled 48,000 KN95 masks because they failed to meet standards.

Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Sandy Karsten said the state ordered and purchased masks from three vendors but that she would not release the names of those vendors. Karsten said she is limited in what details she can provide because of potential litigation. 

Missouri Coronavirus Deaths Rise to 198, 5,991 Infected

Apr 20, 2020
Doctor's office supplies on desk.
Raw Pixel / Unsplash

The coronavirus outbreak has now claimed nearly 200 lives in Missouri and sickened thousands more. 

COVID-19-related deaths in Missouri rose to 198, up 13 from Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which has been tracking cases worldwide.

The data also showed the number of confirmed cases in the state increased to 5,991, up 219.

The deaths include 11 residents of Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles County. Another roughly 60 Frontier residents and a dozen employees have tested positive.

Some Workers Set to Get Unemployment Benefits This Week

Apr 13, 2020

The Missouri Department of Labor announced some people who applied for unemployment will receive their $600 federal pandemic unemployment payment this week.

The $600 is a federal supplement to unemployment benefits from the state for the next four months. It's a part of the CARES Act, which was a federal stimulus package intended to provide economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Missouri’s health department is reporting 136 more confirmed cases of coronavirus. 

The Sunday update brings the state’s total number of reported cases to 4,160. The Department of Health and Senior Services reports 110 people have died from the virus in Missouri so far, up one from Saturday.

The uptick comes as places of worship grapple with how to handle services on Easter Sunday while following social distancing guidelines.

Gov. Parson Signs Spending Bill to Fight Pandemic

Apr 13, 2020
Missouri's Capitol Building in 2017.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has signed a supplemental budget bill allocating nearly $6 billion in federal stimulus money to fight the health and economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctor's office supplies on desk.
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Older people have been far more likely to die worldwide from the coronavirus, and statistics from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services show that Missouri is no exception. 

The health department cites 53 fatalities from the illness caused by the coronavirus. The toll rose by 14 Tuesday.

The department also cited 3,037 confirmed cases, up 315, or 11.6%, from Monday.

Twenty of the 53 Missouri residents who have died were age 80 or older, and 17 were in their 70s.

Missouri First Responders Affected by COVID-19 Will Receive Compensation

Apr 8, 2020
Columbia Police Department vehicle.
Meiying Wu / KBIA

A first responder’s job is not easy, and with the COVID-19 outbreak their jobs have gotten harder and more dangerous. Across Missouri, police officers, firefighters and EMTs have contracted COVID-19.

Gov. Mike Parson and Annie Hui, the director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, announced an emergency rule Tuesday that allows any first responder to receive workers’ compensation if they are quarantined or contract COVID-19.

Missouri Coronavirus Deaths Rise Over 30

Apr 6, 2020
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.