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Parson to make announcement on Missouri’s stay-at-home order

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he would announce Thursday whether he will extend his statewide stay-at-home order to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, but Missouri’s largest city isn’t waiting.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city’s stay-at-home mandate will remain effective until May 15. It requires residents to stay home except for essential activities such as purchasing groceries or supplies or seeking medical care.

The extension applies only to Kansas City. Jackson County and other surrounding counties have not yet said whether they will extend their orders.

Parson, a Republican, was among the last governors to issue a stay-at-home order, which went into effect April 6 and is set to expire April 24. Parson said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon that his administration was preparing for the day “to move the economy forward.”

Late Wednesday night, Parson said on his Facebook page that he would make an announcement Thursday “after a number of conversations with local elected officials and other governors.”

St. Louis and Kansas City and their suburbs, along with several other counties in Missouri, instituted stay-at-home orders several days before Parson’s statewide order. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said he expects the St. Louis-area order to be extended into May. He declined to offer a more specific date.

The number of confirmed Missouri cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, has now topped 5,000.

Most infected people develop mild or moderate coronavirus symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up within three weeks. But older adults and people with existing health problems are particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Data Thursday from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which has been tracking cases worldwide, showed 5,142 confirmed cases in Missouri, a jump of 358, or 7.5%, from Wednesday. The number of deaths increased by one to 154.

A leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said the St. Louis region has had success in “bending the curve.” But Dr. Alex Garza, during a Wednesday afternoon news conference, warned that relaxing social distancing restrictions too early could cause a second wave of infections, and he said stay-at-home orders should remain in place for at least another month.

Because St. Louis, St. Louis County and neighboring counties were aggressive in issuing stay-at-home orders, the number of people who will become ill is now expected to reach 71,000 by the end of April. Initial projections were that at least 80,000 would be infected.

Three more nursing home residents have died from COVID-19. Franklin County Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said two women in their 90s died after contracting the illness at Grandview Healthcare in Washington, bringing the number of victims from that nursing home to six.

St. Charles County officials said a man in his 80s from Frontier Health & Rehabilitation has become the seventh victim from the St. Charles facility.

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