St. Louis City and County discuss “stay-at-home” order; community spread now a concern

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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis and St. Louis County authorities spoke this afternoon about the mandatory stay-at-home rule. It will begin Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Mayor Lyda Krewson and County Executive Sam Page said the measure will allow people to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors’ appointments, restaurants for carryout, to work for most businesses, and to exercise outside.
 
“It was an extremely difficult decision that we do not take lightly,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson during an afternoon press conference. Krewson also said she is worried about people’s health and finances.

Krewson said this is an unprecedented response in the region. She said there is now evidence of community spread of the COVID-19 virus in our region. That means new infections are not just related to travel but are being transmitted from person to person.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page spoke on Facebook, addressing the issue. Page said, “this is a decision we did not come to easily, but let’s be clear: I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving people’s livelihoods.”

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann reacted to the order, saying “I do not believe we are in a situation where government should be deciding which businesses must close and which may stay open,” says Ehlmann. “We will continue to educate our residents that they should stay home except to go to work and procure the services they feel are essential. If businesses and residents work together to do what is right at this critical time, we will be doing everything we need to do right now to slow the spread of this disease.”

Three Missourians have so far died from the virus and there are 73 cases. St. Louis County officials said Friday that a woman in her 60s, who suffered from multiple health problems prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19, died at a hospital. Officials don’t yet know if she had traveled or how she became exposed to the virus.
 
Also Friday, on the other side of the state, Jackson County officials said a woman in her 80s died. She had not recently traveled, raising concerns about community spread, which is when experts can’t figure out how a person caught the disease.

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