Gov. Parson announces partnership to better understand impact of COVID-19 strategies on transmission in schools

Gov. Parson announces partnership to better understand impact of COVID-19 strategies on transmission in schools
The positivity rate in Missouri is currently 20.4 percent. (Source: wwbt/nbc12)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Governor Mike Parsonis holding a briefing on Missouri’s response to COVID-19 at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, December 3.

Thursday Briefing Regarding COVID-19

Thursday Briefing Regarding COVID-19

Posted by Governor Mike Parson on Thursday, December 3, 2020

During the briefing, Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said an additional 164,000 shipments of vaccines made by both Pfizer and Moderna could arrive in Missouri by December 21.

That’s in addition to the first shipment of around 51,000 doses expected several days before that.

Dr. Williams said the state plans to have all healthcare workers in Missouri vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of January.

He said the state plans to have all nursing home residents and staff vaccinated by mid-January.

The plan depends on when the FDA approves a coronavirus vaccine for use in the United States, which some health experts expect to happen as soon as next week.

The governor also announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partners will arrive in the Springfield and St. Louis areas over the weekend to help local schools and public health officials review current public health measures and support efforts to provide a safe school environment.

“From the beginning, we have stressed the importance of keeping our students in school not only for their education but also for their safety, health, and well-being,” Governor Parson said. “Schools that consistently implement mitigation strategies remain among the safest places for students, which is why we have continually encouraged schools to put these strategies in place.”

Earlier in the month, it was announced the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would be partnering with the Institute for Public Health at Washington University, St. Louis University and the CDC to better understand the impact of COVID-19.

Schools participating in the pilot project are being identified in St. Charles County, St. Louis County and Greene County. Participation is voluntary for school districts, as well as students, families, faculty and staff in the districts.

According to a release from the governor’s office, when a case is identified in a participating school, contact tracing will be performed to identify close contacts. Those individuals will self-monitor for symptoms and be offered saliva testing developed by Washington University at various times during the quarantine period to help identify potential transmission.

“The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education appreciates the partnerships that continue to be formed across our state to examine mitigation strategies in our schools,” said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven. “State officials and local school leaders are eager for as much data as possible to help inform decision-making as they work hard to educate Missouri students while continuing to focus on the health and safety of both students and staff members.”

CDC partners will work onsite with staff from Washington University, St. Louis University, local public health agencies, and local schools for the first two weeks to activate the project. Much of the work throughout the project will occur virtually or by phone.

The project is being piloted in December until schools go on winter break, and the entire data collection and review process is anticipated to be completed within three months. The project will also involve a survey of school-based mitigation strategies in schools throughout the state to better understand the measures being implemented in other regions.

The governor also announced 12 hospitals in Missouri that agreed to participate in a partnership with Vizient to expand the statewide hospital capacity. Those include:

  • North Kansas City Hospital
  • Saint Luke’s Health System
  • Liberty Hospital
  • BJC HealthCare
  • St. Luke’s Des Peres Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital - St. Louis
  • Northeast Regional Medical Center
  • Mosaic Life Care - St. Joseph, Maryville and Albany
  • Hannibal Regional Healthcare System
  • Mercy - Springfield and Lebanon
  • SSM Health - Jefferson City and St. Louis
  • SoutheastHEALTH
  • CoxHealth

He said when fully deployed, the plan will add nearly 600 hospital beds.

Missouri cases

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, on average, 2,634 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths are reported in the state daily.

As of Monday, 2,758 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in Missouri. Of these patients, 659 are in the ICU and 376 are on ventilators.

The positivity rate in Missouri is currently 20.4 percent.

A total of 309,368 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Missouri, including 4,102 deaths.

Currently, 309,368 Missourians have been tested for the virus.

The state’s dashboard was updated on Thursday morning and included data reported through Tuesday. DHSS said all seven-day data was subject to a three-day delay.

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