State health officials say the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Missouri increased from 46 to 73 on Friday. There are also three deaths: in Jackson, St. Louis and Boone counties.
The death in Jackson County was announced by Governor Mike Parson on Friday afternoon, and the St. Louis County death was announced by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page on Friday evening.
Governor Parson briefed Capitol reporters in Jefferson City on Friday afternoon, outside his Statehouse office. The governor says this is a public health emergency, and he predicts the number of confirmed cases will continue to rise as more testing is done.
“The good news to that is we are identifying the people that are testing positive and trying to get them in quarantine and out of the public, so we can help combat the coronavirus,” Parson says.
Parson tells reporters that he is ordering state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams to require social distancing.
“It will be targeted to gathering of more than ten people that will be prohibited,” says Parson. “This order will make statewide restrictions on gathering of people.”
The governor emphasizes this is not about shutting places down, and is designed to promote the health and safety of Missourians.
Parson says this order will not apply to religious services, hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies and state government. He’ll announce the details of the order on Saturday afternoon.
Meantime, Missouri House leaders in both parties announced Friday evening that a House member has tested positive for the coronavirus. Missourinet has confirmed that the lawmaker is veteran State Rep. Joe Runions, D-Grandview, who is 79 years old.
House leaders in both parties are requesting that all House employees stay out of the Missouri Capitol, for at least the next ten days.
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