Missouri is testing its first possible positive case of the novel coronavirus

Updated: Mar. 7, 2020 at 10:48 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KFVS) - Gov. Mike Parson announced on Saturday, March 7 the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory has reported a presumptive positive result for COVID-19.

This lab test has been forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

The patient is a young woman from St. Louis County, who was studying abroad in Italy. She had just returned to the United States earlier this week.

She called the Public Health Hotline and has been cooperating with the Health Department ever since.

The young woman and her parents are quarantined in her parents St. Louis County home. Officials are trying to track any persons she may have come in contact with.

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School, in Clayton, Mo., have been called off for Monday after school officials learned one of their students is the sister the young woman.

Sam Page, the St. Louis County Executive and a medical doctor, assured that the county was prepared, and “would work to contain this virus as much as possible.”

“St. Louis County is prepared for this challenge. We are responding quickly, professionally, and effectively to these test results,” Page said.

The Chairman of the Emergency Department of Mercy Hospital St. Louis stated health officials there had been preparing for the COVID-19 for several months.

When the health department brought the patient to the hospital for testing, she was immediately taken to a negative pressure room.

All staff members have been issued personal protection gear.

Mercy is working closely with the Health Department to limit exposure.

The young woman did not meet the admission criteria when she was tested.

The infection control team and the health department decided to quarantine the young woman at home.

The case is under investigation.

Press conference with Governor Parson, County Executive Sam Page, representatives from Department of Health and Senior Services, and County’s Department of Public Health concerning presumptive positive case of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in St. Louis County.

Posted by County Executive Sam Page on Saturday, March 7, 2020

As of March 7, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has tested a total of 26 individuals for coronavirus, including the presumptive positive case.

The governor said three additional tests remain in progress.

Parson said his goal remains to protect the health and safety of Missourians.

“As Governor I have no greater responsibility then to keep all Missourians healthy and safe,” Parson said. “We have an excellent healthcare system and I am extremely confident that Missouri is prepared to handle these cases, as well as any others that may arise.”

“We understand that there is serious concern about this virus and the potential escalation surrounding positive cases in our community,” said Spring Schmidt, Co-Director of St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “Our Department, local public health and local public safety agencies are working closely with state and federal agencies to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur. We can’t stress the importance of taking protective measures enough.

“We are committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information as we tackle COVID-19 head on," DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said. “We will continue to assist the St. Louis County Health Department, and our thoughts are certainly with this patient and family.”

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