JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – During Governor Mike Parson’s coronavirus briefing Thursday afternoon, he pointed out that Missouri’s total case count is being primarily driven by new cases in Southwest Missouri, St. Louis, and Kansas City.
Parson also said those areas made up approximately 60 percent of the new cases in Missouri this week, but the rate of new cases is decreasing in the rest of the state.
When looking at hospitalizations, he said they peaked at 1,200 in early April, but now they’ve decreased to about half of that.
Parson reminded all Missourians that even though this coming weekend is the Fourth of July everyone still needs to be careful while celebrating.
“As we head into the fourth of July weekend, I want to again remind everyone to be safe, smart, and responsible. We want everyone to enjoy the holiday, but we cannot let our guard down. As you get outside and spend time with family and friends, please remember to be cautious and have social distancing as a priority. Holiday or no Holiday this is still the most important step we can take to keep Missouri on track with social distancing.”
Parson also took the time to acknowledge the new legislation he signed this week. He signed Senate Bill 591 to stop unfair and unreasonable litigation between employers and employees.
Parson signed House Bill 2120 which protects clean drinking water in schools. This law allows schools to test their water to make sure it is lead free. This is being paid for by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant worth $719,000.
The governor also signed House Bill 1786 which looks to add broadband internet to unserved and underserved communities.
“And now with the challenges posted by COVID-19, access to high-speed broadband is more important than ever to our infrastructure and our economy,” Parson said. “The digital divide prevents growth in many sectors of our economy, including education, work force development, healthcare, business retention and attraction.”
Director of Broadband Development at Missouri Department of Economic Development Tim Arbeiter said they are using nearly $50 million to expand broadband, telehealth and education. Arbeiter said this money comes directly from the Cares Act and the programs they are putting in place have been designed specifically to use that money.
Of the $50 million dollars from the grant program, $20 million will go to expanding and improving high-speed broadband, $5 million will go to telehealth services, K-12 and Higher Education will receive $20 million and libraries will receive $2.5 million.