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Missouri’s response to coronavirus: A timeline

   

Since mid-March, when testing began, more than 8,700 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus across the state, a majority of cases clustered around Kansas City and St. Louis. 

Additionally, nearly 400 people have died from COVID-19. 

The Department of Health and Human Services has updated its website each afternoon with the latest positive numbers. And Gov. Mike Parson has held briefings nearly every day. 

Here’s a look at how Missouri — and in particular, the state government — has responded to the global pandemic. (This story will be updated, with the most recent developments added to the top.)


May 4: Missouri begins phase-one of its reopening plan.

Parson also signs an executive order extending four prior orders he says are designed to ease regulatory burdens.


April 21: Attorney General Eric Schmitt sues the Chinese government over its initial handling of the virus, making Missouri the first state in the country to do so.

Parson also signs legislation allowing license reciprocity for military spouses relocating to Missouri with an active duty partner.


April 20: Parson announces more than $47 million in additional expenditure restrictions spanning nine state agencies, the General Assembly, and the Attorney General’s Office.


April 17: The Missouri Department of Social Services applies for a waiver from the federal government to allow individuals to purchase groceries online with SNAP benefits.


April 16: As Missouri surpassed 5,000 positive cases of coronavirus, Parson announces he’ll extend his stay at home order to May 3.


April 10: Parson creates a working group, led by State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, to analyze and make recommendations pertaining to federal relief money available to Missouri.

Parson also signs the $6.2 billion supplemental budget, with coronavirus aid, passed by the General Assembly this week.


April 9: Parson announces schools will remain closed for the remainder of the year, with remote learning to continue through the end of the scheduled school year.


April 7: Parson and Labor Director Anna Hui announce Missouri will implement an emergency rule to ensure first responders who contract coronavirus will be covered under the state’s workers’ compensation law.


April 3: Parson announces Missouri will be under a statewide stay at home order after facing heavy criticism for not doing so sooner.


April 2: Parson signs an executive order waiving late fees on concealed carry permit renewals, something he says will free up local law enforcement officials from administrative tasks. 

House Leadership also announces the lower chamber will convene the same day as the Senate the following week to pass the supplemental budget.

A handful of Missouri State Parks closes to the public this evening after days of complaints several individuals were not practicing social distancing. 


April 1: Parson announces a freeze of about $180 million — impacting the Economic Development, Higher Education and Workforce Development, Natural Resources, and Transportation departments as well as the Office of Administration — to offset the economic shortfall from coronavirus. 

Several businesses in Missouri, including Surah Korean Cuisine & BBQ in Columbia, have shuttered indefinitely to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. (THE MISSOURI TIMES/KAITLYN SCHALLHORN)

March 27: President Trump partially approves Missouri’s request for a federal disaster declaration. 

Parson mobilizes the Missouri National Guard to assist with coronavirus response efforts. 


March 24: The Missouri Capitol and state offices officially close. About 15,000 state employees are already working from home by this point. 

Parson also requests a federal disaster declaration


March 21: Parson directs the Department of Health and Senior Services to require social distancing, instructing individuals to avoid gatherings of more than 10. 

Both Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base reported positive diagnoses at the installations. 


March 20: Rep. Joe Runions (HD 37) is confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus, the first member of the General Assembly diagnosed. 

The Office of Administration also announces the first confirmed positive case in the Truman Building. 


March 19: Parson signs an executive order allowing executive agencies to waive or suspend some regulations while dealing with COVID-19. 

By this day, all Missouri public districts and charter schools closed. 

The Missouri Capitol shuttered some areas to the public, including the House Lounge and Chambers, even before the first positive case among lawmakers was reported. (PROVIDED/TIM BOMMEL)

March 18: An individual in Boone County dies, the first coronavirus-related death in the state. 

The governor suspends municipal elections originally scheduled for April. Missouri casinos also close this day. 


March 16: The Missouri Supreme Court suspends in-person proceedings in appellate circuit courts. 


March 13: Parson declares a state of emergency, the same day as a national emergency is declared by the president. 


March 11: The Missouri Senate decides to adjourn early ahead of the legislative spring break.

The World Health Organization also declares coronavirus to be a global pandemic. 


March 10: The Missouri Capitol begins to occlude some areas, such as the House Lounge and Chambers, to the public. Guests are encouraged to stay away. 


March 7: A young woman from the St. Louis area tests positive for coronavirus, the first person in the state to be confirmed, officials announce. 


March 2: The House Committee on Disease Prevention holds its first hearing, taking testimony from an infectious disease doctor at MU, the head of clinical health at BJC HealthCare, and DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams.


February 27: House Speaker Elijah Haahr creates the Committee on Disease Prevention, naming Rep. Jon Patterson chairman.


January 27: DHSS implements its incident response team, meeting daily since.

This story has been updated. 


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