At least 114 people have died and 4,388 have tested positive for the coronavirus in Missouri. Two of the most recent deaths include in western Missouri’s Bates County and northern Missouri’s Linn County.
During today’s Capitol briefing, Gov. Mike Parson said Missouri’s first makeshift hospital will begin taking coronavirus patients Tuesday. The former Quality Inn hotel in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant can serve more than 100 patients. The temporary care site is the first one in Missouri and the nation.
St. Louis and St. Louis County have consistently made up about half of Missouri’s total positive cases.
State Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten says National Guard members, emergency management employees, public health workers, and others have been working for the past few days to convert the location.
“We are facing an unprecedented challenge,” says Karsten. “And this was an unprecedented rapid response to support our medical personnel and potentially save lives.”
Karsten says the National Guard’s 139th Air Wing and the State Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team are providing the medical staffing.
The State Emergency Management Agency is recalling 48,000 KN95 masks used in the fight against the coronavirus. Karsten says the masks were delivered to first responders statewide on April 2 and 8.
“Testing over the weekend by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services showed that some of these masks did not meet standards,” says Karsten.
Karsten says first responders should immediately pull the masks out of circulation and make sure the items are not used. The State Emergency Management Agency will be collecting the masks.
“We put out the specifications for the vendors. We also check references and we ask for samples. In some cases when samples cannot be provided, we ask for photographs of the product that is to be produced. Now since our experience over the weekend, we are establishing a working group to look into this more closely.”
Missouri has about 2,000 ventilators available among its roughly 150 hospitals to help patients suffering from the coronavirus. State Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams says he watches daily the number of ventilators being used in Missouri.
“Every day we’re using about 1,000 of them – 1,100. So at this point, we’re encouraged as we think about surge that at this point we are equipped, even in areas that have more concentration, like St. Louis, to meet that surge capacity,” says Williams.
Of the state’s roughly 10,800 hospital beds, about 4,100 are available.
President Donald Trump says he has the authority – not governors – to lift any social distancing orders at the state level. Gov. Parson, a fellow Republican, says the president “well knows” what the authorities of the states are and what the president’s are.
“I think he, like all of us, are anxious to get the economy back on its feet, moving forward. And I think that’s what he cares about when he says things like that,” says Parson.
The coronavirus crisis has led to many business closures and mass layoffs.
“The president is going to work with us governors. He’s proven that time and time again,” says Parson.
During a briefing Monday, Trump said numerous provisions of the Constitution give him such authority but did not name them.
View today’s briefing below.
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