ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials in Missouri's largest cities are ordering a mandatory stay-at-home rule to residents starting next week in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
St. Louis and St. Louis County authorities first announced the order Saturday, which is to begin Monday, before Kansas City officials followed with a similar order late Saturday afternoon. The order in Kansas City and surrounding areas is set to begin Tuesday.
In the Kansas City area, residents of the Jackson County and Wyandotte and Johnson counties in neighboring Kansas were ordered to stay home for anything other than "essential needs." That includes child care, health care, grocery stores, pharmacies and delivery/carry-out/drive-thru services from restaurants.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said the measure will allow people to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors appointments, restaurants for carryout, to work for most businesses, and to exercise outside. There are 1.3 million people who live in the city and surrounding county.
“The new restrictions, which will take effect Monday, will ensure that residents can meet their basic needs and that essential services will still be provided, ” the mayor's office said in a news release posted on Twitter. “The new restrictions will require people to stay at home when possible.”
Illinois, New York and California are implementing statewide stay-at-home orders, calling on residents to remain in their homes unless they have vital reasons to go out.
The stay-at-home rules were announced as Gov. Mike Parson detailed other measures to help residents stay in their homes, including extending driver's license and vehicle registration expirations by two months, loosening licensing and other regulations for child care services, increasing food stamp allotments for some families and pushing back state income tax filing requirements to July 15 to match postponed federal deadline.
For most people, the 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.
Three Missourians have so far died from the virus and the number of confirmed cases of the illness nearly doubled from Thursday to Friday. The total number of confirmed cases in Missouri was at 73 by the state's count Saturday, up from 28 on Thursday.
St. Louis County officials said Friday that a woman in her 60s, who suffered from multiple health problems prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19, died at a hospital. Officials don't yet know if she had traveled or how she became exposed to the virus.
Also Friday, Jackson County officials said a woman in her 80s died. She had not recently traveled, raising concerns about community spread, which is when experts can't figure out how a person caught the disease.