ST. LOUIS ( – Gov. Mike Parson has extended Missouri’s State of Emergency until March 31, 2021.

Thursday morning, Gov. Parson said hospital capacity is becoming a problem in Missouri and staffing is becoming an issue. He said he is looking for solutions, including potentially bringing in military resources. 

Gov. Parson also said he would not impose a mask mandate. He clarified that he is not opposed to mask wearing, but said he is opposed to the governor’s office mandating masks. Gov. Parson said it is up to individuals to stop the spread of COVID-19 and he personally thinks people should choose to wear a mask.

"There's been many things said about how this virus spreads, all the way from restaurants and bars to kinds of things that are in the news. But I tell you this virus is everywhere. It's in our communities. It's in our families. It's in our businesses," he said.

In regards to Thanksgiving, the governor said  he recommended people changing the way they celebrate the holidays, but said he doesn’t consider it a government responsibility to patrol who is allowed at a family gathering.

Gov. Parson also said he would not mandate anyone to take a vaccine and would not punish anyone who didn't want to take one. He stressed that he plans to release a public health warning sometime Thursday. 

"It's our responsibility as citizens of this great state to take it upon ourselves to do the right thing," said Gov. Parson. "And, I'm calling on every citizen, no matter where they're from rural Missouri or urban area to do just that."

On Thursday, Missouri reported 4,349 new COVID-19 cases and 30 new deaths, making the state's positivity rate 23.7%. 

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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