Missouri on Sunday recorded its smallest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in a week, with 65 new confirmed infections.


The first Missouri case was reported March 7 in St. Louis. The official state count stood at 903 on Sunday, according to figures supplied by the Department of Health and Senior Services in its daily update.


Boone County reported 54 positive cases of the infection that causes COVID-19, up from the 44 reported on Saturday. Of that number, 17 were by community transmission.


Missouri has had 12 deaths related to COVID-19, according to the official report.


There are confirmed cases in 55 of the state’s 117 local health jurisdictions reporting to the state. The worst outbreaks continued to be in the state’s largest counties, with St. Louis County reporting 336 confirmed infections and another 97 in the city of St. Louis.


Kansas City had 102 cases, with another 48 in areas of Jackson County outside Kansas City. St. Charles County had 43 known infections and 41 were reported for Greene County.


Columbia and Boone County remain under stay-at-home orders until in effect until at least April 24. About 60 percent of the state is under stay-at-home orders of varying lengths. Stay-at-home orders now cover approximately 3.6 million of Missouri's 6.1 million residents.


MU Health Care continued to test people in its drive-through clinic over the weekend.


MU Health so far has tested 1,797 people overall through its drive-through testing program and conducted virtual COVID-19 assessments for 990 people, spokesperson Jesslyn Chew said Sunday evening in an email.


On Saturday, testing was temporarily delayed due to lightning from spotty severe storms that rolled through Columbia in the morning. MU Health on that day tested 44 people at its drive-through testing site and assessed 20 people virtually.


Also on Saturday, Boone Hospital Center tested 8 individuals, spokesperson Jessica Park confirmed Sunday morning.


Boone Hospital has tested 546 patients since March 12, and 371 of the tests were done through their mobile drive-through testing site.


Statewide, approximately 12,385 people have been tested, the state Department of Health and Senior Services reported Sunday.


Chariton County is now one of 22 counties in the state under stay-at-home orders following a third resident contracting the virus.


"Please know we cannot release any information without verification from the lab where that person was tested," the county Health Center wrote on Facebook. "Therefore, if that person wishes to post or share this information before we have positive result, then that is up to that individual."


Cole County’s stay-at-home order went into effect Saturday night following the same round of severe weather that halted testing at MU Health.


"In an effort to keep the spread of COVID-19 low, when calling for repairs on your personal properties, please try to keep the services local, minimize the amount of people in one location, and maintain physical distancing as much as possible," the county Health Department advised.



The death of Willam "Al" Grimes, the Henry County Democratic Party chairman, was announced in a tweet from state Chairwoman Jean Peters Baker. It came after the Henry County Health Center in Clinton, about 60 miles southeast of Kansas City, announced that a man in his 70s had died.


"We will miss you, Al," Peters wrote. "The stars will not shine as brightly."


Peters said that Grimes, a Navy veteran, had been active in campaigns throughout eastern and central Missouri. He also ran for the Missouri House in 2014 and 2016.


Grimes was first hospitalized in Clinton before being transferred on March 8 to a Kansas hospital, The Kansas City Star reported. His positive test for coronavirus was reported March 13, but he was among the state's first confirmed cases.


His death was among two new deaths reported Sunday by the state Department of Health and Senior Services. There were no details about the other new death.


The St. Louis County Police Department said Saturday that one of its officers had contracted the virus that causes COVID-19. The department said he did not contract it while on duty but provided no other details.


Two officers in the St. Louis city police force's traffic division also have tested positive for the virus.


For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.


The St. Louis County police said affected work areas and vehicles have been thoroughly cleaned and they don't know of any other cases associated with the officers.


Meanwhile, Jim Edmonds, a broadcaster for baseball's St. Louis Cardinals said he underwent tests at an area hospital for coronavirus after going to the emergency room. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the 49-year-old former outfielder said he has pneumonia and was awaiting the results of other tests.


Nationally, the number of confirmed infections grew to 139,675 by 5:45 p.m. Sunday, up by 18,000 in 24 hours. The number of deaths blamed on the contagion grew to 2,436, an increase of more than 410 in the same period.


Worldwide, the number of infections confirmed by test results was 718,685, with deaths worldwide from COVID-19 totaling 33,881.


Rudi Keller of the Tribune and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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