JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- In his daily press briefing Monday, Governor Mike Parson said he doesn’t plan to issue a statewide stay-at-home order amid the COVID-19 outbreak despite pleas from the medical community to do so.
Parson cited discrepancies between the number of coronavirus cases in rural and urban areas as the reason not to issue the order for all of Missouri.
"It’s difficult to make a blanket policy for the state of Missouri," Parson said. "It’s going to come down to individual responsibilities."
Last week, the Missouri State Medical Association sent a letter to the governor asking for a shelter-in-place executive order so statewide medical supplies don’t deplete rapidly.
The letter reads in part:
“We appreciate the previous actions you have taken regarding this crisis, and understand the interwoven policy issues at play during this critical time. However, we now believe that a statewide ‘shelter-in-place’ order is the only way to curb the exponential spread of COVID-19 in Missouri.
If things progress as is, COVID-19 patients will deplete the state’s available hospital beds, ventilators, and precious personal protection equipment. Any additional time without a ‘shelter-in-place’ requirement wastes crucial healthcare resources, including manpower.”
On Monday, Parson did announce that he would extend that state’s social distancing guidelines past the April 3 deadline. That states "every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people."
Thus far, 32 states have issued stay-at-home orders including the state of Illinois. JB Pritzker issued that order on March 20. Of the states that border Missouri, only Illinois, Kentucky and Kansas have issued statewide stay-at-home orders.
Locally, St. Louis City and County, along with St. Charles, Jefferson, Lincoln, Gasconade, St. Francois (goes into effect April 3), Crawford counties (goes into effect April 1), and the city of Rolla have all issued stay-at-home orders. Franklin County and Ste. Genevieve counties have restrictions on gatherings and restaurants and business closings but no official stay-at-home order. The counties of Phelps, Pike, and Washington have promoted state guidelines but have not issued a stay-at-home order.
On Monday, Parson stood by his decision not to issue a statewide order.
“The one thing I focus on every day is real data,” Parson said. “How many people do we have in the hospital. How many people have tested positive, and where do these things lead us to in the future. These decisions are not easy to make every day.”
According to a University of Washington study, with the current statewide restrictions in place Missouri is projected to see peak deaths, 22 per day, on May 18. By August 4, the state could have 1,219 COVID-19 related deaths.