28 positive cases in Mo.; Gov. Parson confirms all public, charter schools closed
MISSOURI (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 28 positive COVID-19 cases.
The Department said 395 total patients were tested at the state lab and two were tested by commercial or other labs.
Governor Mike Parson held a news conference on Thursday, March 19.
Statewide required assessments for Missouri schools are canceled.
Missouri’s Commissioner of Education, Margie Vandeven, made the announcement with a video on Thursday evening.
In the post, she said it’s a response from teachers that were asked what the state could do to help them deal with changes caused by COVID-19.
The governor confirmed that all public and charter schools in Missouri are temporarily closed.
“I commend school administrators for their strong leadership, and I strongly recommend people not gather in groups of more than 10 people,” he said.
The Departments of Health and Senior Services and Social Services took action to help child care providers and families during the ongoing outbreak.
To assist in this effort, DHSS’ Section for Child Care Regulation has taken the following steps:
- During the period of time that schools are closed, licensed child care providers are able to utilize the rules regarding emergency school closings. This allows licensed programs to accommodate enrolled school-age children who need care. The provider will be permitted to exceed the license capacity of the facility by 1/3 during this time.
- SCCR has developed a process to allow for the temporary care of preschool and school-age children. Short-term licenses for a 45-day period are available. These licenses, which are renewable, will be based on an abbreviated inspection that focuses on key health and safety indicators.
Also, SCCR loosened some regulations for licensed child care providers to allow them to extend their hours of care, and eased administrative burdens related to record keeping requirements.
The Department of Social Services took the following actions:
- Child Care Subsidy program benefits are extended for 90 days.
- The Child Care Subsidy program can pay for additional hours of care for a child’s attendance due to school closure or the parent is required to work additional hours.
- Child Care Subsidy provider application renewals are extended for 90 days.
Parson also said Missouri must help employers and workers across the state get through this crisis.
Governor Parson also responded to criticism over his response to the virus.
He has not ordered businesses to close like other state governors. He said while he supports the decision by leaders in St. Louis and Kansas City to shut down businesses. He suggested closing businesses in smaller communities could have a devastating impact.
“It is much harder to go into a rural community and start mandating businesses to shutdown when they don’t have the infrastructure, the resources or the plan in place that an urban area does. However, I strongly encourage all small business owners to take measures to help fight the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
Gov. Parson said expanding testing in Missouri will happen in the coming days, and with that, he said the state will expand the criteria for testing.
As of Thursday afternoon, 330 people in Missouri have been tested for the virus.
On Wednesday, he announced the first death in the state.
The total of positive cases on Wednesday was at 24, including a Heartland woman who tested positive in Tennessee.
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