Gov. Parson expands special session, proposes new legislation on COVID-19 liability; gives update on Mo. vaccine production

Gov. Parson expands special session, proposes new legislation on COVID-19 liability

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported an average of 3,709 cases of COVID-19 per day, as of Thursday, November 12.

On Thursday, DHSS reported 25,961 new cases in the past seven days. This seven-day range reflects Nov. 3-9.

The department also reported 63 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past seven days, as well as 121,339 new tests.

As of Thursday, the positivity rate over the past seven days was 22.4 percent (CDC method) and 40.8 percent (state method).

Gov. Parson briefing

Governor Mike Parson held a briefing in Jefferson City at 9 a.m. on Thursday to give updates on Missouri’s response to COVID-19, vaccine developments, K-12 school guidance and on the special session.

Thursday Briefing Regarding COVID-19

Thursday Briefing Regarding COVID-19

Posted by Governor Mike Parson on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Gov. Parson was joined for the briefing by Christine Smith, Chesterfield Site Lead and Vice President of Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences for Pfizer. Smith provided details regarding recent COVID-19 vaccine developments.

He was also joined by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven and Dr. Rachel Orschlen, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Special session

The governor expanded his call to special session to include a new bill regarding COVID-19 liability.

The proposed legislation includes three main provisions:

  • Liability protection for health care workers who provide care as necessitated by a declared state of emergency
  • Products liability protection for any person who designs, manufactures, labels, sells, distributes, or donates products in direct response to a declared state of emergency
  • Premises liability protection for exposure claims related to a declared state of emergency

“Since the start of COVID-19, our health care providers have gone above and beyond to respond to COVID-19 and provide exceptional care in an unprecedented and rapidly changing environment,” Governor Parson said. “Many other organizations across the state have also been instrumental in our response efforts, including manufacturers, businesses, churches, and schools, just to name a few.”

Following the first identified case of COVID-19 in Missouri on March 7, Governor Parson said he signed an executive order on March 13 declaring a state of emergency. Since then, he said Missouri’s hospitals and health care providers have changed practices and operations to respond and provide care to COVID-19 patients.

You can click here to read the special session proclamation.

School guidance

The governor also announced the Departments of Health and Senior Services and Elementary and Secondary Education modified their COVID-19 guidance for close contacts and assessing exposures in school settings.

This new guidance will apply to Missouri K-12 schools that have implemented a mask mandate.

Vaccine update

Parson said the vaccine developed at Pfizer’s Chesterfield facility could be one of the first to become available.

The location is reportedly one of three company sites identified as U.S. manufacturing centers for COVID-19 vaccine production.

He said the company could even ask for an emergency-use authorization in the company weeks, but Chesterfield site leader Dr. Christine Smith said that depends.

She said the vaccine will be ready when it’s ready.

“We operate at the speed of science, and we do not cut corners,” she said. “We have mobilized our best talent who are working around the clock with experiments and plans executed in parallel to support the manufacturing path for this vaccine. Normally, we would have waited for positive clinical data to do much of this work. But not this time. This time, we have been and will continue to work as fast as science will allow.”

Gov. Parson attends Perryville event

Governor Parson also traveled to Perryville at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday for the event “Contractors at the Wall."

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri hosted the event to encourage the construction industry to get involved with the Missouri National Veterans Memorial in Perryville and to help connect veterans with job opportunities in the construction industry.

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