More than 50,000 Missourians filed new claims for unemployment benefits the week that ended May 1, marking the third straight week the number has dropped, the state labor department said.
The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said 52,203 people filed initial jobless claims last week, down from 54,710 the previous week. The numbers began to decline after 101,722 people filed claims the week that ended April 11.
A total of 495,392 people have filed claims since the week that ended March 21, when many local governments began instituting stay-at-home orders.
Nationally, nearly 3.2 million laid-off workers across the U.S. applied for unemployment benefits in the week that ended May 2, labor officials said.
The city of St. Joseph announced Wednesday that an employee at a pork plant where hundreds of workers have tested positive for COVID-19 has died of the disease caused by the coronavirus. The man, who had underlying health conditions, worked at Triumph Foods, a city spokeswoman told the Kansas City Star.
After nearly three dozen workers at the plant became infected last month, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services tested all asymptomatic workers at the plant from April 27 to May 1. The testing found that 412 of 2,367 workers tested positive despite showing no symptoms.
The plant remains open. President Donald Trump issued an executive order last week requiring meatpacking plants to stay open despite outbreaks of COVID-19 at several around the country.
Missouri’s health department on Thursday reported 9,341 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which was 239 more than on Wednesday. Missouri deaths attributed to the virus rose by 22, to 418.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that 29 health centers in Missouri would receive a total of $11.9 million to expand COVID-19 testing in the state.
Another inmate and four additional staff members at the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston have tested positive for the coronavirus. Since the pandemic began, 31 inmates and nine staff members have tested positive, the Sikeston Standard Democrat reported.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up after two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.