Ashlyn O’Hara
Missouri News Network

Parson: April will be a “tell-tale month” for state

As the number of COVID-19 cases passed 1,000 statewide on Monday, Gov. Mike Parson said he plans to extend the state’s social distancing guidelines.

Parson said he expects the middle of April will be a turning point in the COVID-19 crisis, calling it “a bit of a tell-tale month,” but said he didn’t want to give “false hope” when nobody knows for sure when the virus will peak.

“I think we’re still 60-90 days away from getting through this virus, and that’s kind of a best-case scenario,” Parson said.

The number of positive cases in Boone County reached 60 by 5 p.m. Monday, according to the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. Twenty people had recovered from the virus, and 39 cases remained active. The first patient in the county who was confirmed to have the virus was the only one to have died.

Parson said that his statewide social-distancing order, which is set to expire next Monday, will likely be extended and that they will make a decision on how long the extension should be by the end of the week.

Parson also said that there are no plans to stop interstate travel or to shut down any Missouri highways, and said he was disappointed at the lack of social distancing at Missouri state parks over the weekend.

Regarding eviction suspensions, Parson said that each situation must be evaluated to see what the impact would be and that it’s difficult to make blanket decisions.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services said that, beginning Wednesday, those seeking immunizations or clinical services from the agency should call 573-874-7355 to set them up.

More healthcare providers

Also during the Monday briefing, Chlora Lindley-Myers, the director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance, announced Parson’s approval of a new waiver that allows physicians and surgeons licensed in another state to provide health care to Missourians in person or via telehealth, as long as their license is active and they haven’t been the subject of discipline.

Nurses are not included in this waiver because Missouri is already a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to work in person or using telehealth in all 32 NLC states with one multistate license.

Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services Jennifer Tidball announced that the department will be making a temporary payment to many child care providers to ensure that they receive no less than what they received as an average payment for December, January and February for the months included in the state’s “emergency timeframe,” including March. The Department of Social Services pays 2,400 child care providers monthly, on average, Tidball said.

“We are asking providers to work with us to ensure that they pass on some of this funding to workers, who may be displaced from the child care industry at this point, so that we are able to maintain child care services for families as we move back into a normal course of business,” Tidball said.

Tidball also announced that, effective last week, uninsured Missourians who test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for Medicaid services so long as they have:

A monthly income of less than $904 and assets below $4,000 (individuals) or A monthly income of less than $1,222 and assets below $8,000 (couples).

Watch Parson’s full briefing here.