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Missouri lawmakers plan for potential coronavirus threat

Missouri legislators are attempting to get ahead of the curve as the coronavirus threat continues to spread globally.

Although there have been no confirmed cases in Missouri so far, 60 individuals are being monitored.  The Joint Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Awareness will convene on March 10 to discuss the coronavirus and Missouri’s readiness to handle a potential outbreak, state Sen. Bill Eigel confirmed.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr announced the creation of the Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention. State Rep. Jon Patterson of Lee’s Summit, a private practice general surgeon, will lead the committee. The first scheduled meeting is March 2 with Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

missouri coronavirus

“Dr. Randall Williams has briefed my office on the state’s preventive measures and response plan to protect Missouri’s health,” Haahr said in a statement. “I believe Missourians deserve to know the steps that have been taken and the proactive approach Dr. Williams and DHSS are utilizing to combat the coronavirus in our state.”

In addition to Patterson, the special committee will include state Reps. Steve Helms, Jim Neely, Tom Hannegan, Kathy Swan, Holly Rehder, Lane Roberts, Ashley Bland Manlove, Yolanda Young, Rasheen Aldridge and Kip Kendrick.

Despite no confirmed cases in Missouri, more than 60 people have been evaluated because of experienced symptoms, travel or exposure history. A much smaller portion met the CDC’s criteria for persons under investigation, according to the state health department.

“Our Missouri team has been working to educate and collaborate with a robust network of response organizations, including the State Emergency Management Agency, all 16 state departments, the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory, clinicians, local public health departments, medical associations, hospital associations, airports, school nurses, student health departments at colleges and others to provide timely and accurate information in preparation for the possibility of a future positive case,” Williams said. “We are dedicated to continuing to educate Missourians about COVID-19. The risk for infection still remains low, and we will continue to strategically align with all of our partners under our operating principle of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice