Just one week ago, Missouri had five confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. Boone County had none.
Missouri had 90 confirmed cases at the 9 p.m. Saturday report, and on Sunday the Columbia-Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services reported 17 in the county.
The state count did not include seven of 17 cases in Boone County or new cases discovered Saturday in Callaway County, which now has five cases, or in Adair, Moniteau and Perry counties, which have one each. The state count is does not reflect the current counts in St. Louis or St. Louis County and there were cases reported at Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base.
As of Sunday afternoon, MU Health Care logged 542 virtual visits since Tuesday, MU Health spokesperson Jesslyn Chew said in an email Sunday. They conducted 122 drive-thru tests Saturday and 26 on Sunday, and are not currently treating any inpatient COVID-19 cases.
MU Health also announced Sunday that providers will no longer need to ask patients with COVID-19 symptoms about previous exposure, risk factors or travel history before ordering testing. Visitors will not be allowed at its hospitals, with few exceptions: a partner/spouse/coach in labor for deliveries, one parent/guardian for pediatric patients or if a patient is nearing the end of their life. Truman VA and Boone Hospital Center followed suit, announcing they will temporarily suspend all inpatient visitation access until further notice. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for Truman VA, and limited exceptions apply for Boone Hospital.
At the time of this post, there are 17 positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) reported in Boone County.
14 travel related
1 contact to a confirmed case
1 pending investigation
1 unknown origin
Updated information is always available on https://t.co/aTqfAYjVn4 pic.twitter.com/uYhSyj6kT9
With new restrictions on banning gatherings of more than 10 people statewide taking effect Monday and already in effect in Columbia and Boone County, restaurants and were closed for indoor service service but many were offering take-out and delivery.
At DogMaster Distillery on St. James Street, owners were maintaining the limit of no more than 10 by posting Amanda Pangborn at the door to regulate the entry of customers in search of hand sanitizer.
After making a batch Thursday at the request of the Columbia Police Department and the health department, the craft distillery is selling it to the public for 50 cents an ounce, with a limit of 16 ounces per customer.
That was fine with Pam Bowman and her husband, Chuck Bowman, who said they had been unable to find commercial hand sanitizer at retail stores.
“I think it is great,” Pam Bowman said. “I think it is great for the small businesses being able to make some profit like this even though the bars and restaurants are closed.”
She works for the Missouri Senate and doesn’t expect that body to reconvene until sometime in April. The Legislature must finish work on a supplemental spending bill to support the state’s effort to control the coronavirus.
Chuck Bowman owns Monarch Title Company and he said his staff is operating with limited contact with the public. Much of his business’ work can be done online, he said.
“We can do person to person, but we just have to do it with a small number,” he said.
Jim Haynie lightened the mood for the two dozen people standing in line by pulling out a metal tape measure he carries in his truck, measuring 6 feet to show how far people should separate.
Haynie is retired and is spending his time working around his house and helping out with his seven grandchildren while school is out.
He stopped at DogMaster after shopping at Sam’s Club.
“We heard they had toilet paper, so we got some,” Haynie said. “One pack is all the store would allow. They finally got wise.”
DogMaster co-owner Van Haxby said he sold out of about 50 gallons on Saturday and was making a larger batch for Sunday. He is also working to fill bulk orders from police and health departments, as well as child care centers and other places in need of large amounts.
But he won’t sell more than 16 ounces to a retail customer, Haxby said.
“That is what we are telling people,” he said. “We want to spread this out. People have been very friendly, very open.”
In addition, Anheuser-Busch employees will be making hand sanitizer in addition to Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers. The company said on Twitter that it will use its supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of sanitizer “to accommodate the growing needs across the United States.”
Each day brings details of how the virus is being spread and the dangers of catching it while in large groups.
At least five St. Louis County cases cases are tied to Temple Israel's preschool in Creve Coeur. The synagogue said in a statement late Saturday that a total of four teachers have now tested positive for COVID-19. A parent of a child at the preschool has also tested positive.
All five are either recovering at home or are no longer symptomatic, according to the synagogue.
The synagogue noted that the parent attended Temple Israel's Purim Carnival on March 8. The event celebrates the saving of the Jews from a threatened massacre in ancient Persia.
The synagogue closed its schools for the remainder of the academic year, which was scheduled to end May 15.
Columbia, along with the state, has banned gatherings of more than 10 people, excluding grocery stores, child care centers and other essential venues. Kansas City and St. Louis have issued mandatory stay-at-home orders.
St. Louis and St. Louis County authorities first announced the order, which is to begin Monday, before Kansas City officials followed later Saturday with a similar order. The order in Kansas City and surrounding areas is set to begin Tuesday.
Kristy Wilson Bowers, an assistant professor with the University of Missouri’s Department of History, said that history shows that though mandates like those work, they’re difficult to execute.
“It is really hard to make people stay away from each other,” she said. “People don’t like being told what they can and cannot do.”
Wilson Bowers is an historian of medicine, whose research focuses on early modern Spain. She teaches a class at MU about epidemics and society.
“I think (the stay-at-home mandates) can help flatten the curve,” Wilson Bowers said. “It’s certainly the best thing we can do now.
“I think for the science that we have ... it is something that will help.”
Previous responses to outbreaks like the 1918 flu were hindered by wartime, she said, but the internet can be a valuable resource for keeping up-to-date with CDC guidelines.
Wilson Bowers, like the rest of MU’s educators, has had to transition all of her in-person classes online.
“It’s been quite an adjustment, for sure,” she said. “The hard part is that loss of schedule, and loss of face-to-face contact is disorienting.”
She said that many professors are behind on learning new technologies, but they’ve received help from graduate students in setting up Zoom calls and the like.
“I’m lucky,” she said. “History is easy to teach online,” because she is able to upload PDF files of readings to Canvas. She said that professors in lab sciences, music and the arts have more difficult hurdles to face in transitioning learning to the web.
Wilson Bowers added that academic resources for learning about epidemics and pandemics are more widely available than ever. The academic resource JSTOR has made articles more widely available for students and independent researchers alike.
She also added, however, that because of the newness of COVID-19, science will take time to emerge and people must be cautious of misleading information from social media.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the stay-at-home measure will allow people to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors appointments, restaurants for carryout, to work for most businesses, and to exercise outside. There are 1.3 million people who live in the city and surrounding county.
In the Kansas City area, residents of the Jackson County and Wyandotte and Johnson counties in neighboring Kansas were ordered to stay home for anything other than "essential needs." That includes child care, health care, grocery stores, pharmacies and delivery/carry-out/drive-thru services from restaurants.
A state representative with the virus, Democrat Joe Runions of Grandview, said in a statement that his condition is improving but progress is slow. He also said his doctors are “deeply concerned” about the potential shortage of supplies.
“Although I remain hospitalized, I am getting better, but it will be a long recovery," Runions said. “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."
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Daniel Mehan sent out an “urgent request” for companies to produce N95 medical masks and basic medical gowns. In the message, he asked interested companies to email michelle.Hataway@ded.mo.gov to provide assistance.
Nationally, there were 32,644 confirmed COVID-19 infections and authorities have reported 402 deaths. Worldwide, the virus that emerged last last year has infected more than 329,000 people and is blamed for 14,379 deaths, or about 4.4 percent of those infected.
Illinois, New York, California and New Jersey are implementing statewide stay-at-home orders, calling on residents to remain in their homes unless they have vital reasons to go out.
Parson gave no daily briefing on Sunday, but his office announced upcoming briefings would be virtual in accordance with the statewide gathering limitations.
Wilson Bowers said that the extent of the success of shelter-in-place orders and social distancing is difficult to measure since it’s only possible to see if a government and people under-reacted.
“It gets hard in retrospect to say exactly how much (state and national responses and staying at home) did help,” Wilson Bowers said, “-but I think it absolutely can.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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