At least 96 people have died in Missouri from the coronavirus. The latest state data shows nearly 3,800 people have tested positive for the respiratory virus.
During today’s briefing about COVID-19, Gov. Mike Parson says he has signed into law a coronavirus relief package. The plan, passed this week by the Missouri Legislature, gives the governor up to $6.2 billion in spending power. It takes into account nearly $6 billion in federal aid but whether Missouri ends up getting that much is still up in the air.
The plan includes:
- $1.5 billion in federal funds to local governments
- $600 million for temporary hospital sites
- $150 million for personal protective equipment
- $100 million for hotel rooms that doctors and nurses can stay in to prevent their families from getting sick
- $90 million for nursing homes
- $40 million for food banks and Meals on Wheels
- $20 million in childcare funding to help keep daycares afloat
- $20 million in block grants for quarantine and treatment facilities, testing and diagnoses and delivering meals to quarantined individuals
- $11 million for continued activation of the Missouri National Guard
Parson announced today that he has launched an advisory work group to study the state’s greatest use of the funding. State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick will head the panel.
“As we all adapt and respond to these unprecedented times, we need to make sure these dollars are put to work and put to work in the best way for Missouri to get back on its feet, put the economy back to work and get Missouri families moving forward again,” says Fitzpatrick.
Missouri Public Safety Department Director Sandy Karsten says the state is delivering more than 96,000 surgical masks to front line workers. The state is expecting another 41,000 face shields and 41,000 other shields to arrive today and through the weekend. She says about 3.5 million surgical masks are expected to be delivered to Missouri next week. Karsten says shipments are also starting to come in from Missouri businesses who have been working to make these items for the state’s response efforts.
Some states have reported being outbid by the federal government for medical equipment, like ventilators, surgical masks, N95 respirator masks and gowns. Sometimes it’s the Federal Emergency Management Agency coming in and buying all the supplies from under them. Neighboring Kentucky, Colorado, and Massachusetts have reported FEMA swooping in and outbidding them.
“Never again will I be dependent totally on foreign countries or companies outside the state of Missouri. We’ve got too many opportunities in this state – too many good people. And next time we’re going to be prepared with our own state companies to take care of Missourians and not be dependent on other states and other countries to meet our needs,” says Parson.
Missourians who are overdue on child support and qualify for a stimulus payment might not end up reaping the benefits. Under the plan, Americans who make $75,000 or less a year would get a check for $1,200 – $2,400 for married couples – plus $500 per kid.
“It’s pretty simple for me – if you owe for your children, you need to pay for your kids. They should be a priority of yourselves,” says the governor. “If there’s an opportunity to take that money and make sure we get it to those kids where they need it, by all means we’ll be taking it.”
Ahead of Easter Sunday, today’s briefing also included a chunk of time devoted to observing the religious holiday.
The full video of today’s briefing is below.