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Coronavirus cases to 10,000, deaths top 500 in Missouri

Both the number of confirmed cases and deaths from the coronavirus in Missouri reached somber milestones Tuesday: Cases topped 10,000 and the number of deaths exceeded 500.

The state health department reported 88 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 10,006. Thirty-six new deaths were reported. Since March, 524 people in Missouri have died from the virus.

St. Louis continues to be the hardest-hit region. State data shows that 53.4 percent of confirmed cases, and 70.4 percent of deaths, have occurred in St. Louis city and county combined.

Nearly three dozen inmates at an eastern Missouri jail have tested positive for the coronavirus, along with five members of the jail staff.

The 34 inmates included some who showed symptoms and some who did not, according to a joint statement late Monday from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department and the county health department. None of the inmates or staff members have died, and none required hospitalization. The statement said all five staff members have recovered. The inmates who tested positive have been quarantined.

Outbreaks of COVID-19 are common at jails and prisons, where large numbers of people are confined in crowded spaces. In Missouri, the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston has reported 43 prisoners and 14 staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Leaders of the Service Employees International Union have expressed concerns that many St. Louis-area nursing home workers who test positive for COVID-19 are being denied paid sick leave. Among them is 47-year-old Nichole Scott, who lost her 66-year-old sister to COVID-19 on April 5. Her husband, church friends and others have tested positive, and she now has the illness.

Scott told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the nursing home where she works is requiring her to quarantine using vacation days and other paid time off she earned before the spread of COVID-19.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides some employees up to 10 paid sick days and up to 10 weeks of paid medical leave, but it allows health care providers to exempt themselves.

Kansas City will operate in-person summer camps for children starting June 8 and will follow childcare COVID-19 guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city said Tuesday.

Each location will be limited to no more than 15 children and camps will have less than 10 people in a room at a time, a news release said. Children and staff will be required to wash their hands after each activity, and staff will frequently wipe down surfaces. Children and staff showing signs of illness will be expected to stay home.

Day camps at Kansas City parks have already begun. Those camps opened, with significant restrictions, on May 4.

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