SPRINGFIELD — The second likely case of coronavirus in Missouri and the first in the Ozarks is a person from Springfield in their 20s who had recently traveled to Austria.
In Springfield when the person exhibited symptoms, they called ahead to a local CoxHealth clinic separate from the hospital and was met in a cleared out clinic and waiting room, said Robin Trotman, an infectious disease specialist at Cox.
The person was tested, and the results test came back around 3 p.m. Thursday. At 6 p.m., Gov. Mike Parson, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and local public health officials met for a press conference.
The patient is currently isolated and is likely to make a full recovery, Trotman said.
The case is the second presumptive positive reported in Missouri, where a 20-year-old traveler from St. Louis County returned from hard-hit Italy infected with the virus.
Cases are called "presumptive positive" until the positive test results are confirmed by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, state and local officials treat them as a positive result in the meantime.
More than 1,600 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the United States, and 40 people have died as of Thursday evening. About 128,000 people have been infected globally.
Kansas, which has five cases, saw its first COVID-19 death, a man in his 70s who lived in a nursing home in the Kansas City, Kansas, area, state health officials announced Thursday.
The Wyandotte County man's case was the first in Kansas known to have been the result of a local spread of the virus.
As of Thursday, 73 people in Missouri have been tested for COVID-19 statewide — up eight from Wednesday — and all but two have come back negative. The state currently has capacity to test 1,000 people, Parson said.
"I know there is a growing concern around the state and the nation right now, but I want to assure you that we are taking all necessary steps to protect the people of this state," Parson said. "We knew this was coming, and we are taking every precaution we can."
Greene County's public health director, Clay Goddard, said early Thursday afternoon the local department was awaiting results from three tests, one of which is now the presumptive positive.
Further details about the infected patient are unavailable while health officials work to investigate where the person may have traveled after coming to the U.S. with whom they may have come into close contact. Those people will be notified by the health department, Goddard said.
The Springfield health department has been given five tests from the state lab, and Goddard said he ordered five more from a private company — the maximum number available to order at a time amid the worldwide pandemic.
State health director Randall Williams said the federal government would be sending more tests soon, and Parson added that he expected to see $13 million in federal aid to address the virus.
Parson said he would not yet be declaring a state of emergency, and said state departments would be ready to assist communities as they fight the virus.
He did not commit to taking any executive or legislative action yet, however.
Public health officials have been encouraging people to take preventative action to avoid spread of the virus, especially those in "high risk" categories such as people over 60, people who have heart or lung disease or are grappling with diabetes or cancer.
In addition to washing hands regularly with soap and water, the health department recommends people:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask, which says face masks should be used by people who show symptoms to prevent the spread of disease to others. Face masks are also crucial for care workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings.
Also Thursday, Kansas City and St. Louis banned all public events with more than 1,000 attendees.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.