Missouri expands COVID-19 testing criteria and will decontaminate used N95 masks

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Governor Mike Parson and the Director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state will be expanding the criteria for testing patients for COVID-19.  The announcement came during a briefing delivered through the governor’s Facebook Page. 

DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said the expanded criteria will allow for health care providers to test patients who are both symptomatic and asymptomatic.  Williams said the criteria expansion will also allow for more first responders and health care workers to be tested.  Parson has said testing must be rapidly increased as part of his plan to reopen the state.  

There was also an announcement during Wednesday’s briefing regarding a plan to decontaminate much sought after N95 masks.  The state will establish 13 drop-off and pick-up sites where health care providers can drop off N95 masks for decontamination.  Parson said the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System will be ready next week and allow for health care workers to re-use masks.

“Through this system, we will have the maximum capacity to decontaminate up to 80,000 N95 masks per day if needed,” said Parson.  “By helping conserve PPE, this will be a huge benefit to our overall recovery plan.”

The system is 100% federally funded through federal dollars, according to Mo HealthNet Director Todd Richardson. 

“The decontamination system is the result of two decades of research and it has received approval through the food and drug administration,” said Todd Richardson, MoHealthNet Director.

The system is expected to be available to the state for approximately 6 months.

Parson said he remains focused on a plan to reopen the state beginning May 4th.  He said more details about that plan will be released in the coming days.  Parson echoed comments he made on Tuesday that he expects most businesses to reopen after the statewide stay-at-home order expires May 3rd.  Tuesday he told reporters there were still discussions about when businesses such as casinos could open and when restrictions could be lifted on nursing homes.

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

More local COVID-19 maps and stats


Latest News

More News