JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Governor Mike Parson is issuing a statewide order to limit the number of individuals that can gather in any one place at a time.
During a Friday afternoon news conference, the governor and state health director said the order restricts the gathering of 10 or more people. That order will go into effect Saturday. The exact time will be announced during a briefing on Saturday.
The governor did not order bars or restaurants to close but, again, groups of 10 or more will be prohibited from being together.
Parson said the order will not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, religious buildings, or state government.
“It’s easy to make a decision today as governor. I can make that; I have the power to do a lot of things. But I also have to look at what’s happening six months from now; what’s this state going to be like in a year,” Parson said.
“Cause one thing I do know is we’re going to survive this. We’ve survived tragedy in this state before. We’ve went through hard times in this state before. But it’s important what we’re going to do after that. We’ve got to be prepared for that. And there’s going to be a tough road ahead but we’re going to survive that. That is one thing I do know for sure.”
The governor said the crisis will not end anytime soon and he expects the number of people contracting COVID-19 will go up in the coming weeks as more people are tested.
At present, Missouri has reported 47 total cases of coronavirus and two deaths. The most recent death occurred in Jackson County.
Meanwhile, Parson said Missouri has enough testing available in state labs for people who meet certain criteria to be tested, adding that six out of 100 of those state lab tests came back positive.
However, tests for people off the street won’t be available for some time because the resources and testing units simply aren’t in abundance.
Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said they’ve completed thousands of tests via state labs and private labs, like Quest and LabCorp.
William stressed that if you have a cough, fever, and shortness of breath, you should report yourself to a healthcare provider.
Sandy Karsten, head of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, also announced pallets of personal protective equipment were on a truck and headed to hospitals and emergency services personnel.
Parson said he spoke with the president and vice president on Thursday and is in communication with the state’s Republican and Democratic leadership to discuss a unified response to coronavirus.
Parson closed Friday’s briefing by saying the majority of Missourians will do the right thing when it comes to social distancing.
“…it’s about personal responsibility of people in the state of Missouri. And they have to step up and do that and they really got to step up for people besides just their selves, you know?” he said. “Whether it’s my kids or my grandkids, you know, it’s what you expose other people to and you do have some responsibility of that as individuals and we have to understand how serious that is.”