O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri increased nearly 300 on Tuesday as the demand for a nationwide home stay mandate increased.
According to health authorities, 15 people have died and 1,327 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have been confirmed. This corresponds to an increase of 28.7% compared to the 1,031 confirmed cases on Monday. St. Charles County said Tuesday that an 83-year-old woman died from the coronavirus.
Republican governor Mike Parson has banned gatherings of more than 10 people across the state, but has refused to follow the leadership of nearly two dozen other states where people have to stay at home, except in exceptional cases. Several health organizations and democratic politicians have called for a nationwide order to stay at home.
Parson said during a press conference that he was “not at a point” to issue an order at home, and found that 95 of Missouri’s 114 counties have five or fewer confirmed cases.
“This is not the time to play politics,” said Parson.
The order in St. Louis did not appeal to everyone. It enables outdoor exercise as long as people practice social distancing. City officials worried about large gatherings have closed playgrounds and barred vehicles from streets in parks, while displaying electronic signs asking people to stay separated.
City officials said they are also considering going to court to close churches that fail to ban meetings of more than 10 after quoting two churches for Sunday meetings, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
In the meantime, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources led a congestion for the closure of four state parks – Castlewood State Park in Ballwin; Elephant Rocks State Park in Belleview; Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and Park in Lawson; and Weston Bend State Park in Weston – from 5pm Thursday.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that improve in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, this can lead to more serious diseases such as pneumonia and death.
Parson said government agencies are considering which stadiums and arenas could be turned into care centers when hospitals run out of patient care, including the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis and the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
Civil rights organizations, doctors and others are demanding that as many detainees as possible be released during the pandemic. The city and county of St. Louis released nearly 150 inmates last week. Jackson County published about 80.
Parson said his government “currently has no intention of releasing detainees.”
Anne Precythe, director of the Correction Department, said there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri prisons, but one prisoner tested positive in the hospital for another medical problem.
Missouri Social Services reported Tuesday that five students and three employees at Waverly Regional Youth Center, a home school for teenagers in difficulty, tested positive for the virus. Students with the virus are quarantined in the center and infected employees are isolated in their homes.