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Coronavirus updates: 5th death in STL County, police will not tolerate non-compliance of SAH order

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines from around St. Louis and the world for Wednesday, April 1, 2020

ST. LOUIS — We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Our Top Story

A fifth person from St. Louis County has died from COVID-19. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health said it received notification on April 1 of a COVID-19 involved death of a man who is 50 to 59 years old. According to the county’s COVID-19 online tracker, as of 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, there are 547 positive cases of the coronavirus in St. Louis County. On March 31, there were 492 cases reported in the county. Within the last 24 hours, the county said it has received more than 200 calls on its COVID-19 hotline. Read More

Get today's updates and the top headlines below.

Today's top headlines

List: Where you can get tested | Map: Local COVID-19 cases | Coronavirus symptoms | FAQ 

Latest updates

Here are the latest updates from around the St. Louis area and the world (all times are Central/time):

APRIL 1 1:47 p.m.

Chicken with salmonella can make you sick. So can romaine lettuce with E. coli and buffets with lurking norovirus. So why aren’t health officials warning people about eating food contaminated with the new coronavirus? The answer has to do with the varying paths organisms take to make people sick. Respiratory viruses like the new coronavirus generally attach to cells in places like the lungs. Germs like norovirus and salmonella can survive the acid in stomachs, then multiply after attaching to cells inside people’s guts.

APRIL 1 1:35 p.m.

A fifth person from St. Louis County has died from COVID-19. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health said it received notification on April 1 of a COVID-19 involved death of a man who is 50 to 59 years old. According to the county’s COVID-19 online tracker, as of 1:20 p.m. Wednesday, there are 547 positive cases of the coronavirus in St. Louis County. On March 31, there were 492 cases reported in the county.

APRIL 1 12:50 p.m.

So far it seems the stay-at-home order issued to combat the coronavirus pandemic is reducing crime in the city of St. Louis and elsewhere. According to preliminary crime statistics, shootings and certain types of assaults and thefts are down by as much as a third when compared to the same week last year in St. Louis – and police aren’t as active, either. 

APRIL 1 12:24 p.m. 

The St. Louis County Police Department is warning businesses that it will not tolerate non-compliance with the county's stay-at-home order. During the order, only essential businesses such as hospitals, grocery stores and gas stations are allowed to keep their doors open to the public. It is a class A misdemeanor to violate the order. The department said Wednesday that non-essential businesses that remain open should "expect enforcement action to begin in the near future." "This is a challenging time for everyone in our community," the department said in a press release. 

APRIL 1 11:58 a.m. 

There are 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County and now county officials are releasing more details about where the patients live.

This the breakdown by municipality and zipcode:

  • Pacific, 63069: 3 cases
  • Lonedell, 63060: 2 cases
  • Union, 63084: 4 cases
  • Washington, 63090: 3 cases
  • Villa Ridge, 63089: 3 cases
  • St. Albans, 63073: 1 case
  • St. Clair, 63077: 2 cases

Of the three cases in Pacific, one is a 79-year-old woman. Of the cases in Washington, one is a 78-year-old woman, according to a press release from the county.

APRIL 1 11:32 a.m.

A doctor at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese has tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital was notified of the positive result on March 24, according to a press release. The hospital said the doctor followed “the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance to prevent transmission while providing care.” The doctor won’t be returning to work until the doctor is healed and cleared to work according to CDC standards. All colleagues at the hospital are being informed and will continue to follow guidelines by the CDC on isolation, use of protective equipment and monitoring of symptoms, according to the release.

APRIL 1 11:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is warning that Americans face a grim few weeks ahead, with tens of thousands likely killed by the new coronavirus. But he is resisting issuing a national stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the disease. Trump said earlier this week that he and members of his administration have discussed a stay-at-home order, but called such a move “pretty unlikely” for now. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Wednesday noted in a series of television interviews that the U.S. federalist system leaves much of the authority on how to properly respond to catastrophes to individual state governors and local officials. 

APRIL 1 9:45 a.m. A St. Charles Country Pet Adoption Center employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized. St. Charles County health officials were notified about the positive result from the state lab Wednesday morning. The employee last worked at the facility on March 20, according to a press release. The center closed to the public on March 25 and is only taking appointments for reclaiming lost animals.

APRIL 1 8:57 a.m. — The U.S. has 189,633 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,081 deaths from the disease as of 10:00 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 7,100 people have recovered.At the rate the virus is spreading, it's likely the U.S. will pass the 200,000 mark in confirmed cases sometime Wednesday. It took the U.S. 68 days from the first recorded case on Jan. 19 -- according to the New England Journal of Medicine -- to reach 100,000 last Friday. The second 100,000 will be recorded in five days. The White House on Tuesday projected that the U.S. could have between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths as long as social distancing measures continue to be followed. Worldwide, there are 860,793 confirmed cases with 42,354 deaths and 178,378 recoveries.

APRIL 1 8:27 a.m. — The St. Louis-based startup GiftAMeal has helped raise $20,000 for COVID-19 hunger relief in a $5,000 matching campaign with Operation Food Search. The money was raised in just 10 days. With the GiftAMeal phone app, people can take a photo of their order from one of 200 participating restaurants and a meal will be donated to someone in need. GiftAMeal said more than 400,000 meals have been given to those in need through the program so far.

APRIL 1 7:44 a.m. —  St. Louis Lambert International Airport plans to cancel five infrastructure projects worth more than $3 million, including two that had been awarded to contractors, as the number of air passengers continues to fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said the move comes as the city-owned facility anticipates drastic reductions in revenue. The Board of Public Service was set to consider the matter Tuesday afternoon.

APRIL 1 5:20 a.m. — The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County will start breaking down its COVID-19 cases by ZIP code. The change will allow for better tracking of what areas are being hit harder by the virus. St. Louis reported its first COVID-19 case, a Saint Louis University student, on March 16. On Tuesday evening, St. Louis reported 195 cases, which is a 45-case increase from Monday. 

APRIL 1 4:44 a.m. — A store had to be shut down and sanitized after what an employee said a man did inside the business Tuesday. Police in Cuba, Missouri, responded to the business, which they did not name, for the report of a man causing a disturbance. Officers talked to the worker who called in the complaint. The employee said a man inside the store was purposely coughing toward other customers. The worker said the man also fogged up a cooler door and wrote “COVID” on the glass. The man also was accused of touching himself inappropriately and rubbing the cooler door handle.

MARCH 31 2:50 p.m. — A staff member at Maple Grove Elementary in the Northwest R-1 School District has tested positive for COVID-19, school officials confirmed Tuesday.

The employee did not exhibit any symptoms while school was in session and students were present, the district wrote in a letter to parents. But the staff member did make a brief visit to the building on Friday, March 20.

Jefferson County health officials will contact anyone who may be at risk of exposure.

MARCH 31 2:07 p.m. — Out of an abundance of caution, Missouri State Parks will be modifying operations at five state parks to address overcrowding concerns. The modifications will include the temporary closure of four of Missouri’s state parks and a partial closure of one additional park. The closures go into effect at 5 p.m. on April 2 and will last until April 30.

MARCH 31 2:03 p.m. — There are positive cases of COVID-19 "within the school community," according to a press release from the Kirkwood School District. The positive confirmed cases occurred at least 14 days after schools closed on March 13, the release said. The state and county health departments are communicating with anyone who has come into contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus.

MARCH 31 11:50 a.m. — A woman in her 50s with chronic medical conditions is the third person to die in St. Louis County due to COVID-19, according to a press release from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. The death was reported on Monday. "Moving forward, DPH will require any laboratory company or healthcare provider who receives a positive test result for COVID-19 to report that finding to DPH immediately, but not later than six hours after notification of the result," the release said. Read More

MARCH 31 11:45 —  A Schnucks grocery store employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The St. Louis County Health Department confirmed late Monday evening that an employee at the store located at 6920 Olive Bhttps://www.khou.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/walmart-to-begin-temperature-checks-provide-masks-and-gloves-for-employees/285-9c85987f-10a3-4927-a1aa-8af8392ce7d4lvd. tested positive for COVID-19. The employee’s position at the store has not been revealed. According to a statement from Schnucks, the person last worked at the store on March 26 and is now in quarantine. The store has undergone a deep cleaning and was sanitized per CDC guidelines. Read More

MARCH 31 9:25 a.m. — Walmart is making health-based changes for its employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Tuesday. The big changes include taking the temperature of workers as they arrive for their shifts and asking them some basic health questions. Stores will also provide masks and gloves for employees who wish to wear them. Read more here.

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