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Rep. Runions recovering from coronavirus, expresses concern about hospital supplies


As state Rep. Joe Runions remains hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus, the Kansas City-area Democrat said his concern is with hospitals and their staff during this time. 

“The most important thing to me right now is for the doctors, nurses, and hospitals in our state to get all of the support and supplies they need as they work to treat this illness,” Runions said in a state Sunday, adding he’s “getting better, but it will be a long recovery.” 

Rep. Joe Runions released this photo taken the morning of March 19, “after the end of what was his worst night since contracting COVID-19.”

“My doctors are deeply concerned that they could run out of vital supplies, especially the equipment they need to keep themselves safe while caring for patients,” Runions said. “They also say expanded testing is needed to more quickly identify and treat those who have contracted COVID-19.” 

Runions also released a photo taken the morning of March 19, “after the end of what was his worst night since contracting COVID-19,” according to a House spokesperson. 

Runions is no longer on a ventilator but is still hospitalized at St. Joseph’s in Kansas City, the spokesperson said. 

House leadership first confirmed Runions had tested positive for coronavirus on March 20, the first lawmaker in the General Assembly known to have contracted the virus. He had not been in the Capitol since March 12, according to a House spokesman. 

Runions had initially been hospitalized with what was thought to be pneumonia, House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in an email Friday. She said his doctors said he is “over the hump” of the disease but will be in isolation for the next several days.

The state representative said he’s been in contact with Gov. Mike Parson to share his experience and observations “as a COVID-19 patient.” 

“I believe the governor understands the challenges are hospitals are facing and will take the necessary actions,” Runions said. 

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Runions is among at least 90 Missourians who have tested positive for coronavirus in the state thus far; three individuals have died. 

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 15,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 201 deaths, according to the CDC

The Department of Health and Senior Services 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.