Task Force ‘disappointed’ Parson allowed emergency order to expire

Missouri

Female doctor in protective suit taking sample for swab test of senior man. Medical professional is examining elderly patient during COVID-19 crisis. They are in hospital.

ST. LOUIS – Missouri Governor Mike Parson is allowing the COVID-19 state of emergency to expire Friday, and it won’t be renewed. The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said they are disappointed the emergency order has expired.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said, “As health care providers, we will continue to do all we can to meet the burgeoning health care needs of COVID and non-COVID patients, but those efforts are made more difficult with the expiration of the emergency order.”

Parson said the emergency order declared in March 2020 is no longer needed.

“Thanks to the effectiveness of the vaccine, widespread efforts to mitigate the virus, and our committed health care professionals, past needs to continue the state of emergency are no longer present,” Parson said in a press release.

But the task force said, “the sad fact is that the number of people newly infected with COVID each day now exceeds past surges.”

Only 20 other states have related COVID-19 state of emergencies still in place, with three of those bordering Missouri.

The task force said the emergency order allowed for “expanded utilization of telehealth services, the ability to exceed licensed bed capacity when required by demand, and the opportunity to eliminate barriers to testing and treatment of COVID patients in partnership with the Department of Health and Senior Services.”

Parson said that Missouri never had mandates or forced lockdowns. He said the main focus was on providing support and assistance to Missourians, health care facilities, and businesses. He also gave encouragement to get vaccinated and stay diligent as we continue to battle COVID-19 while trying to live our normal lives.

“It is time to take this final step and move forward as a state,” Parson said.

The press release noted that more than 565,000 doses of COVID vaccines were administered throughout the state in December, and more than 73% of Missourians 18 and older have “chosen to initiate vaccination.” 

The full press release from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is below.

As we battled the pandemic over the past two years, health care providers in Missouri and Illinois were assisted by the governors’ declarations of a public health emergency. Unfortunately, that flexibility comes to an end in Missouri tonight as Governor Mike Parson announced on December 30, he will allow the emergency order to expire on December 31, 2021. For health care systems in Missouri, the emergency order that enabled us to expand our ability to care for more sick patients will be lost.

As health care providers, we will continue to do all we can to meet the burgeoning health care needs of COVID and non-COVID patients, but those efforts are made more difficult with the expiration of the emergency order. While we all want the pandemic emergency to end, the sad fact is that the number of people newly infected with COVID each day now exceeds past surges. The order allowed expanded utilization of telehealth services, the ability to exceed licensed bed capacity when required by demand, and the opportunity to eliminate barriers to testing and treatment of COVID patients in partnership with the Department of Health and Senior Services.

While disappointed in the expiration of the emergency order, we will work diligently with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and continue advocacy with the state legislature, to reinstate many of the provisions that are essential to providing health care services during this pandemic. For the greater good and the health and well-being of our families, neighbors, and state, as a collective medical community, we implore the legislature to work with us. The health of our communities and sustainability of our health systems across Missouri depend on it.

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