The Latest: Missouri reports first COVID-19 death; Illinois cases rise to 288

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - Below is the latest on the impact of the coronavirus in Missouri and the Metro East:

To read coverage following Wednesday, March 18 on the coronavirus in Missouri and the Metro East click here.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18:

9:00 p.m.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) released a statement saying she will self-quarantine after being in a meeting with a colleague last week who tested positive for COVID-19. Read more about the story here.

6:50 p.m.

The St. Charles County Department of Public Health announced their first positive test for COVID-19. The case is travel-related and the patient, a woman in her 20s, has been quarantined at home. She was tested by a private lab.

The health department is monitoring 191 people. 

6:00 p.m.

A total of 24 Missouri residents have tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday evening. Parson also said mobile testing units have been set up and the National Guard is on stand-by to help.

5:30 p.m.

St. Louis County officials announced Wednesday evening they have identified another positive case of COVID-19. They had 32 negative tests. Learn more here. 

The confirmed case Wednesday is a 30-40 year old and it is travel related. The nature of the travel, whether domestic or international, is still under investigation.

The county has five positive cases and Missouri's total now stands at 19.

Shortly after the announcement, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said he signed an executive order banning group gatherings of 10 people or more. People who plan gatherings of nine people are required to take extra measures to minimize any close contact and further exposure, according to the executive order.  

4:40 p.m.

Washington University announced Wednesday afternoon two of their physicians have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

One lives in St. Louis City and the other resides in St. Louis County. 

They are not currently working with patients and are in quarantine. It is unclear at this time if these are new cases, or just information on patients who have already tested positive. 

Additionally, two undergrad students have also tested positive for COVID-19. The two students had recently traveled to the U.S. from Denmark, but did not return to campus.

4:35 p.m.

The Illinois Commerce Commission voted unanimously to cease disconnections and the threat of disconnections of Illinois electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities during the public health emergency.

The order also calls on the utilities to suspend late payment fees until May 1, or the crisis has passed, and to implement flexible utility credit and collection procedures to ensure customers remain connected to essential utility services when the emergency status ends.

4:30 p.m.

University of Missouri-Columbia officials are asking students to move out of university housing. "This is a difficult decision for us," said Vice Provost for Student Affairs William B. Stackman "However, encouraging you to leave campus is the best way Residential Life can support your health and well-being and that of the community."

4:25 p.m.

Webster University announced it will carry online-only classes through the end of its Spring semester as a precaution amid coronavirus concerns. 

3:35 p.m.

In a press conference Wednesday, Columbia, Missouri's mayor announced the patient who tested positive Tuesday for the novel coronavirus has died.

The six emergency responders who cared for the patient have all been quarantined. 

The patient was their 60s and contracted the virus through travel. Read more here. 

3:30 p.m.

The St. Clair County Health Department said a third person tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 in the county. Officials said the man is in his 50s but didn't say if the case is related to travel or not. Read more here. 

3:00 p.m. 

Jefferson County became the latest county to ban dine-in services at restaurants and bars. The restriction begins March 20 and is effective for 15 days.

2:50 p.m.

Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Wednesday the city is limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people, in compliance with the federal recommendations.

That restriction will go into effect Friday when the restrictions on bars and restaurants also begins.

The courts are closed, and many government employees will work remotely, but the city will still be staffed for essential services.

2:40 p.m.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said officers will limit their in-person responses to certain non-emergency incidents like larcenies, destruction of property, missing persons, thefts or car break-ins. The department said officers will not respond in person if these crimes are not in progress and if there are no apparent suspects to pursue.

The department said people who witness these crimes can still call police at the non-emergency line at 314-231-1212.

Officers will respond to violent crimes and incidents in progress but people will be asked additional questions before a supervisor decides to send an officer to a scene.

2:30 p.m.

Illinois officials announced 128 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 288 in 17 counties across Illinois. There are now three cases in St. Clair County, three in Clinton County and one in Madison County in the News 4 viewing area. 

Officials said the novel coronavirus has hit patients ages 9 to 91. Read more about this story here. 

2:30 p.m.

Warren County officials announced all restaurants, coffeehouses, bars and clubs must close to the public beginning March 19. Food establishments can still offer drive-thru, delivery and pick-up services.

1:55 p.m.

The St. Louis Fire Department is closing its facilities to the public. The department announced Wednesday that permits can be found online, completed and mailed. Fire inspections have ceased and unsafe building conditions can be called in or reported online. STL FD says they are fully staffed. The closure is effect until further notice.

12:45 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said in the coming days the state will have the ability to test 7,000-10,000 patients thanks to the University of Missouri and Washington University developing their own tests for COVID-19. 

Because of this, he said residents should expect the number of confirmed cases to rise across Missouri. 

11:00 a.m.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was in the Metro East Wednesday morning for his daily briefing on COVID-19. 

While there were no new cases reported in the state, Pritzker did provide some clarity on why he activated the National Guard. 

The governor said he activated 60 guardsmen of the estimated 1,300. He said they are considering using them in a variety of missions. One thing they will begin doing is delivering meals to students who are on free or reduced lunch and are now not getting meals at school. 

He said they considered using the National Guard as election judges for Tuesday's primary but did not do it. 

The state is also looking into the possibility of using tents to separate patients with respiratory problems from those going to hospitals for other issues. The guardsmen could help in putting together those tents. 

Pritzker said the 160 cases in Illinois span 15 counties and the ages range from 9-91. 

"These numbers will get much worse before they get better," Pritzker said. 

10:33 a.m.

St. Louis City recorded its second confirmed case of COVID-19 Wednesday.

Mayor Lyda Krewson tweeted that this case, which was confirmed Tuesday night, comes with a threat of "community exposure."

Mayor Krewson said the individual continued to go to work in the City while exhibiting symptoms.

There is no immediate sign of community transmission, Krewson said.

Read the full story.

10:11 a.m.

Missouri's municipal elections scheduled for April 7 will be postponed until June 2, 2020.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the order Wednesday morning.

The Executive Order states:

  • The closing date to register to vote in this election remains March 11.
  • The deadline for filing as a write-in candidate for office remains March 27 at 5 p.m.
  • The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot (Section 115.279, RSMo) shall be May 20.
  • A public test of voting equipment shall be completed no later than June 1.
  • In-person absentee ballots may be cast until 5 p.m. on June 1.
  • The deadline by which absentee ballots must be received by the election authority (Section 115.293.1, RSMo) shall be 7 p.m. on June 2.
  • Military and overseas voters must request a ballot from an election authority by 5 p.m. on May 29, and the deadline for local election authorities to make ballots available to such voters is April 18. Military and overseas ballots must be received by the election authority by June 5.
  • Local election authorities are also directed to post information on their website, use social media if available, issue press release, conduct public appearances, and directly contact stakeholders such as candidates.

5:45 a.m.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has activated the National Guard to help the state fight the coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday, Illinois recorded its first COVID-19 related death. 

Pritzker will talk Wednesday morning about the number of cases growing by the day.

In the last few days, three positive cases have been confirmed in the Metro East. The latest is a man in his 30s from Madison County. He recently traveled and has been self-quarantined after returning home from Europe. 

Then a few days ago, two women in St. Clair County tested positive for COVID-19. One woman is in her 60s and the other in her 70s. Both women traveled abroad and are also quarantined. 

As of Wednesday morning, Illinois has 160 positive cases in 1,500 tested and one death. In Missouri, there are 15 positive cases of 266 tested. 

TUESDAY, MARCH 17:

For more information on the virus and safety guidelines, visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. The St. Louis County Health hotline is 314-615-2660 or visit the county's website at stlcorona.com to learn more.

9:00 p.m. 

Mercy officials said they had the busiest day yet of COVID-19 tests at the Chesterfield drive-thru testing site. A total of 90 people were tested on Tuesday, compared to 52 people on Monday.

8:00 p.m.

Officials in Madison County, Illinois said a man in his 30s tested positive for COVID-19. Officials said the case is travel-related and the patient practiced self-quarantine upon returning. This is the first COVID-19 case in Madison County and brings the total of cases in Illinois to 161.

6:30 p.m.

St. Louis City will offer free meals for students while schools remain closed. Learn more about the city and other districts are offering here. 

5:45 p.m.

Missouri health officials announced the number of positive cases in the state has risen to 15. Read more here. One of the new cases was confirmed in St. Louis County. Officials said the patient is between 60 and 70 years old. There are now four confirmed COVID-19 cases in St. Louis County. Read more on the St. Louis County case here.

4:47 p.m.

St. Louis' largest locally-owned grocery stores announced changes to their hours as well as a dedicated hour for senior shopping.

Schnucks said they are designating 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. daily as a shopping time exclusively for customers age 60+ and those most at risk of COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions. They also announced 81 of their 112 stores' courtesy center will close to dedicate those employees to checkout lanes. For full Schnucks information, click here.

Dierbergs is changing their hours to 8am - 10pm, in an effort to give associated time to clean and restock shelves. 8am - 9am each day will be reserved for adults age 60+ and those with underlying medical conditions that lead to compromised immune systems.

Yesterday, Fields Foods announced a similar program for senior shoppers, between 7am and 8am. 

Fields Foods will also limit the number of cleaning products, bottled water and paper products that can be bought per visit. 

3:20 p.m.

St. Louis area bars and restaurants will have to stop dine-in service Thursday at midnight following executive orders signed in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Franklin County. Similar measures had already gone into effect in Illinois. Restaurants can remain open for dine-out, drive-thru and delivery. Read our story on the restaurant ban here.

3:00 p.m.

Officials with the University of Missouri Health Care announced the launch of a virtual visit service for people concerned about coronavirus symptoms. Officials said the screening will allow people with concerns to speak to a health care professional without having to physically go to a clinic and potentially expose others to the virus. The service will cost $10. Read more here.

2:35 p.m.

Gov. Pritzker announced Tuesday, the State of Illinois has recorded it's first fatality due to the novel coronavirus. 

The victim was a Chicago woman in her 60s. 

There are also 22 positive tests at a DuPage assisted living facility where a resident tested positive last week— 18 residents and 4 staffers.

As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, 160 Illinois patients tested positive for COVID-19. Read more on the first Illinois death here.

2:00 p.m.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has canceled or postponed all performances through April 12.

Patrons can do one of the following:

• Exchange your tickets for any concert later in the 2019/2020 season; all exchange fees will be waived.

• Donate the value of your tickets to the SLSO and receive a tax deduction for the total ticket value.

• Exchange your tickets for an SLSO gift certificate, which can be used at any time.

• Receive a refund for the value of the tickets.

1:50 p.m.

(KCTV) – The Jackson County Health Department announced Tuesday the county’s first presumptive positive test of the novel coronavirus.

“We knew that COVID-19 was coming, and we’ve been preparing accordingly by monitoring individuals, educating the public, and working with our partners at all levels,” Jackson County Health Department Director Bridgette Shaffer said in a release.

Health department officials said the patient is a woman in her 80s who had not traveled recently.

Officials also noted this case was identified through a private lab.

Cass County had its first presumptive positive Monday night, and Johnson County in Kansas has had multiple cases in the last two weeks. As of Monday, there had been 8 positive tests for the coronavirus in Missouri.

1:30 p.m.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Macy's announced Tuesday they will temporarily close all stores by the end of business today. 

The closures will go on until March 31 and will affect all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet and Market by Macy’s stores.

12:30 p.m.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced that casinos would be closing at midnight through March 30. 

Parson said he consulted with the Missouri Gaming Commission to close the casinos to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Illinois closed their casinos days ago. 

9:45 a.m.

According to St. Louis County, the number of phone calls into their coronavirus hotline spiked Monday. 

Records show the hotline took about 13 calls Sunday, March 15. Then on Monday, the numbers spiked to 695 calls. 

Calls are filtered into three categories: Tier 1 is general information, Tier 2 is preventative measures and Tier 3 is high level risk exposure.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has suspended all driver road tests. Written tests will still be available. 

6:00 a.m.

COVID-19 Map 3/18/2020

As the numbers stand Tuesday morning, Illinois has 105 COVID-19 cases while Missouri has eight. 

The newest cases in Missouri include a person between 50-60 years old in St. Louis County and a SLU student in St. Louis City. Both people recently traveled internationally. 

St. Louis City Hall is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. but anyone heading into the building will have their temperature taken. If you temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees, you must return home and won't be allowed in the building.

Mercy is still doing drive-thru testing. Since opening the clinic Saturday, the hospital said 135 people have been tested.  

"So far, we're not stretched thin. We don't have a lot of call outs. We don't have a lot of people on self quarantine yet because it hasn't really hit the hospital," Mercy spokesperson Joe Poelker said. "It hasn't really hit the community yet. A lot of what we're doing right now is precautionary."

As for pet parents, Stray Rescue announced it will open as a pet food pantry for community members in need. Stray Rescue will provide a bag of pet food to anyone in need. 

If you or your neighbors need help, call the shelter at 314-771-6121 or email julia [at] strayrescue.org to schedule a pick up time. 

"Our hearts go out to those who are temporarily out of work and directly affected financially at this time,” said Cassady Caldwell, Executive Director.

You are encouraged to bring your own container.

To read previous coverage on the coronavirus in Missouri and the Metro East click here.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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