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Missouri reports more than 1,000 confirmed cases, 13 dead

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri surpassed 1,000 on Monday and the state’s death toll rose to 13.

Health officials said that as of Monday afternoon, 1,031 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Missouri. That is an increase of 128 from Sunday.

One of the deaths announced on Sunday was William “Al” Grimes, the Henry County Democratic Party chairman. He died in Clinton, said state Chairwoman Jean Peters Baker.

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.

SOCIAL DISTANCING ORDER

Republican Gov. Mike Parson said his administration plans to extend a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people that is set to expire April 6.

The governor said he’s working to determine how long to extend the order but said, “best-case scenario,” he expects the coronavirus pandemic in Missouri to continue for another two to three months.

Asked when the peak might hit the state, Parson said mid-April could be a turning point.

“I don’t want to give false hope to anybody,” Parson said. “Nobody really knows when this virus is going to peak and when it’s not.”

Parson so far has resisted calls to declare a statewide stay-at-home order, as governors in the neighboring states of Kansas and Illinois have done.

He said he’s considering shutting down state parks but has no plans to close state highways at this time.

PROTECTIVE GEAR

Parson on Monday also said the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency has bought more than 6 million surgical masks, 5 million gloves, 5 million N95 masks and 900,000 face shields to give to hospitals, law enforcement and other first responders.

ATTORNEY GENERAL-PRICE GOUGING

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office is investigating eight Missouri-based Amazon sellers who allegedly have been charging two to 19 times the prices charged before the COVID-19 outbreak for hand sanitizer, masks and respirators.

Schmitt issued civil investigative demands requiring the third-party sellers to provide his office with details on pricing.

KANSAS CITY-AREA BUSINESSES

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Monday said the city issued citations to about 200 businesses for violating the city’s stay-at-home order, the Kansas City Star reported.

The newspaper also reported the Jackson County Health Department ordered a Bass Pro Shops store in Independence to close, despite the business’ belief that the public has the right to access guns and ammunition during an emergency.

MANUFACTURER LAYOFFS

An engine parts manufacturer is laying off around 400 employees at its Mexico and Hannibal plants in Missouri.

Spartan Light Metal Products cited a drop in demand for the layoffs, which the company said it expects to be temporary. The Mexico plant will lose 332 employees, with about 72 affected in Hannibal, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

A+ SCHOLARSHIP CHANGES

With all schools in Missouri closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has waived the ACT math score or high school GPA alternative requirement for graduating seniors in order to qualify for the state’s A+ Scholarship community college tuition program.

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