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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Governor Mike Parson continues to emphasize the need for social distancing.

The state ban on gatherings of more than 10 remains in place. He said the best defense against COVID-19 will be if Missourians follow those orders and stay home when possible.

The governor said he evaluates his decisions daily but does not believe a statewide shutdown order is needed at this time.

“The mayors out there are doing their job too and they’ve already got a lot of orders in their urban areas where the most cases are,” said Parson. “Again, I have to evaluate that, whether I shut down the entire state with that order or not.”

Missouri Department of Health Director Mark Stringer also spoke during Thursday’s briefing. He said the department is finding ways to use telehealth and over the phone services when possible. He encouraged anyone struggling with their mental health over coronavirus concerns to call a federal disaster distress helpline at 800-985-5990.

Parson and DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams also said as of Thursday afternoon a larger number of those testing positive for COVID-19 are in their 20s. Eighty-eight of Missouri’s 502 cases have been in the 20-29 age range. Parson said it’s a reminder that COVID-19 can reach a variety of age groups and should be taken seriously.