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Missouri Corrections confirms positive coronavirus case


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An offender who was being monitored for a respiratory condition has tested positive for coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC) said Monday. 

The individual had been isolated in a negative airflow chamber at Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in St. Joseph since March 4 for the respiratory issue but was admitted to a Kansas City-area hospital on March 19. 

No other offenders have been in contact with the unnamed individual since March 4, the department said. 

Staff who had been in contact with the individual have been notified; vehicles and rooms the person occupied have already been sanitized. 

“Medical and custody staff have followed all safety protocols to minimize exposure,” the department said in a news release Monday evening. “Staff interacting with the offender have worn personal protective equipment in accordance with [the] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.” 

MODOC had already suspended visits to offenders at all facilities, with the exception of attorneys. 

Nearly 200 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus, and three people have died. Gov. Mike Parson has declared a state of emergency. 

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 33,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 400 deaths, according to the CDC

DHSS has opened a public hotline operated by medical professionals around the clock seven days a week. The hotline number is 877-435-8411.

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