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Missouri confirms 2nd possible coronavirus case


Gov. Mike Parson announced a Missourian has tested “presumptive positive” for coronavirus in Springfield. Another individual in St. Louis has already been confirmed to have the disease. 

The individual, who is in their 20s, had recently traveled to Austria, Parson said. The person had received medical attention at a Cox Health clinic that was empty at the time and was immediately masked and quarantined, health officials said. 

The patient is expected to make a full recovery, officials told reporters Thursday evening. 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), as well as the local health departments in Springfield and Greene County, are investigating the situation further, Parson said. 

“I am so thankful for the quick actions by the Greene County Health Department and the medical community in Springfield,” House Speaker Elijah Haahr, who represents the area, told The Missouri Times. “This case is, again, the result of a traveler to a high-risk foreign country and was not a community-to-community transfer. The legislature will continue to take a proactive approach to protecting our citizens in every way possible.” 

Both positive cases so far have been travel-related; no person-to-person cases have been confirmed in Missouri thus far. 

Although other states in the U.S. have done so, Parson has not yet declared a state of emergency. 

“As governor, I have no greater responsibility than to keep all Missourians healthy and safe,” Parson told reporters. “I know there is a growing concern across the state and nation right now, but I want to assure you we are taking all steps necessary to preserve the health and safety of Missourians.” 

“We also know that there will be people traveling and returning home to Missouri. We are aware of this and are prepared to handle these situations,” he said. “We have an excellent health care system equipped with trained professionals, and I am confident Missouri is well-equipped to deal with coronavirus.” 

Parson said he’s been in contact with Vice President Mike Pence and other governors across the nation; he’s also briefed state and local officials.

The Missouri State Public Health Laboratory currently has the ability to test about 1,000 specimens, and the state is set to receive about $13 million in federal emergency funds, Parson said. 

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” while the disease is called “coronavirus disease 2019,” or “COVID-19.” It can cause severe respiratory illnesses with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned. 

There have been more than 1,200 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 36 deaths, according to the CDC. In Missouri, 73 patients have been tested for coronavirus with only two meriting positive results, according to DHSS.

The Missouri Capitol has effectively shuttered a week before a scheduled legislative spring break. The Senate canceled session for the upcoming week, while the House will have a technical session Monday and Tuesday as the Budget Committee continues to work. Some public areas in the House have been closed. 

The Missouri Times is tracking how coronavirus concerns and precautions are impacting state government. For an up-to-date look, click here

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.