March 7, 2020
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – In a press conference today, Governor Mike Parson, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, and medical professionals announced the first case to test presumptive positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Missouri. The specimen, conducted by the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory, has been forwarded to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory.
This case is travel-related. The Missouri person, a female in her twenties from St. Louis County, recently traveled to Italy. She is now in isolation at home with family members who have also been in isolation. Local health department officials are identifying close contacts to monitor symptoms and contain spread.
“I am confident in the work of the Department of Health and Senior Services and the St. Louis County Public Health Department and know that they will do what they can to protect the health and safety of Missouri communities,” Governor Mike Parson said.
“St. Louis County is prepared for this challenge. We are responding quickly, professionally, and effectively to these test results,” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said.
“We understand that there is serious concern about this virus and the potential escalation surrounding positive cases in our community,” said Spring Schmidt, Co-Director of St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “Our Department, local public health and local public safety agencies are working closely with state and federal agencies to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur. We can’t stress the importance of taking protective measures enough.”
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has tested a total of 26 individuals for COVID-19 including the presumptive positive case announced today. Three additional tests remain in progress.
“We are committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information as we tackle COVID-19 head on,” DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said. “We will continue to assist the St. Louis County Health Department, and our thoughts are certainly with this patient and family.”
While awaiting confirmation of any future test results from the CDC, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and STLCODPH. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and the St. Louis County website at stlcorona.com.