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Coronavirus strikes nearly 80 Missouri nursing homes

All told, the virus has been confirmed at 79 facilities, including 46 in St. Louis County, 12 in St. Louis city and nine in St. Charles County

O'FALLON, Mo. — The coronavirus has infected residents in nearly 80 nursing homes and assisted care facilities in Missouri, according to new information released by the state.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Friday, for the first time, listed information on confirmed cases at “congregate living facilities,” which include those providing nursing or convalescent care. The state list included the number of facilities in counties with outbreaks. The individual facilities were not named.

All told, the virus has been confirmed at 79 facilities, including 46 in St. Louis County, 12 in St. Louis city and nine in St. Charles County. Two facilities are affected in both Franklin and Jackson counties. Adair, Cass, Green, Jefferson, Moniteau, Pemiscot, Platte and Scott counties each have one affected facility.

The state report does not list the number of confirmed coronavirus-related cases or deaths at the facilities. But local health officials have confirmed that more than three dozen nursing home residents have died of COVID-19 in Missouri, including 16 at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles, 10 at Grandview Health Care in Washington, five at Morningside East assisted living center in Springfield and five at Parc Provence, a long-term care facility in St. Louis County.

Nationally, more than 11,000 nursing home deaths have been linked to COVID-19.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The state health department said Saturday that 359 asymptomatic employees and contract workers at the Triumph Foods pork processing plant in St. Joseph have now tested positive for the coronavirus. The state tested more than 2,300 workers this week. About three dozen workers with symptoms previously tested positive for the virus. The plant is still operating.

Missouri has now topped 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state reported 319 newly confirmed cases Saturday, bringing the total to 8,154. The death toll reached 351 with 14 additional deaths. The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher than the number of confirmed cases, though, because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without feeling sick.

Businesses across the state are preparing to reopen on Monday after Gov. Mike Parson's stay-at-home order ends, except in St. Louis city and county, where local orders will remain in place through mid-May.

Parson urged those returning to stores and businesses to continue to be cautious, and he urged them to buy local.

“Now more than ever our Missouri businesses need our support," Parson said.

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