KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread across the world, and in Missouri and Kansas.
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Updates on the spread of the virus and how it is affecting the metro can be found below for July 31.
5:50 p.m. | Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will hold one press briefing next week on Wednesday, Aug. 5. The governor also plans to travel to Maryville and Kirksville on Monday and hold a brief media availability after each event.
5:30 p.m. | Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly told the players union Friday to strengthen COVID-19 precautions or the season will be canceled. The warning comes as six teams were forced to postpone games Friday night because of COVID-19-related tests.
5 p.m. | Missouri reported 1,547 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the state past the 50,000 mark for a total of 50,911 cases. The 19 additional deaths in the state also reported Friday match the most in one day since a record 42 deaths were reported June 18, according to data kept by 41 Action News.
The seven-county Kansas City metro reported 683 new cases on Friday and 11 additional deaths related to the virus. It's the highest number of deaths reported in the metro in a single day since the pandemic began. The metro has now reported 27 deaths over the last three days and 37 deaths this week, the most since April 11-17.
4 p.m. | Grain Valley Schools says it will delay the start of school until Sept. 8, two weeks later than initially planned. Middle and high school students will begin the year under a hybrid learning model, according to the district.
3:11 p.m. | The Jackson County Health Department announced Friday that two COVID-19 clusters have been identified in Independence.
There are currently 30 confirmed cases from an exposure at Old Paths Baptist Church between July 19 - July 24. It is estimated that more than 300 people were exposed during this time period. [1/4]— Jackson County Health Department (@JacksonCountyHD) July 31, 2020
There are 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to exposure from July 19-24 at Old Paths Baptist Church, 4621 S. Shrank Drive, and five connected to exposure July 19 at the Loyal Order of the Moose No. 2414, 2537 Blue Ridge Blvd.
The county estimates more than 300 people were exposed at the church and 30 were exposed at the Loyal Order.
“If you have visited either of these places on the days of exposure, quarantine immediately and seek testing through community testing events or by your provider,” the Jackson County Health Department said on Twitter.
2:22 p.m. | Harvesters Community Food Network expressed disappointment that the HEALS Act, a proposed new coronavirus relief package in the U.S. Senate, does not include additional nutrition assistance.
Since the start of the pandemic, Harvesters said it’s seen a 40% spike in demand for food assistance and Feeding America projects food insecurity in the Kansas City region would remain 42% above pre-pandemic levels through at least the end of the year, including a 59% increase among area children.
“Harvesters cannot respond to this level of need alone,” the nonprofit said in a statement. “Through our agency network, we are distributing record amounts of food at a rate of 1.5 million pounds a week. But for every meal our network provides, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nine. The charitable sector simply cannot match the reach and efficiency of SNAP. Congress must invest in the public side of this public-private partnership to meet the enormous need.”
Harvesters is calling on Congress to temporarily increase SNAP benefits to address the growing gap.
2 p.m. | The 2020 Blue Springs Fall UN-Festival will now be held in person with several "mini events" to allow for social distancing after receiving mixed reaction to the decision to hold the festival virtually.
The festival, scheduled for Sept. 18-19, will include vendor booths, food trucks, a cornhole tournament, contests and giveaways, free games and more, organizers said Friday. The events will be spaced out along Missouri 7, instead of the traditional Main Street event.
“We started thinking that if we spread everything out enough, we could include both food and vendors as a part of the in-person event,” said Lara Vermilion, Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce president. “This pandemic has hit our community hard and this option also gives us an opportunity to include and promote Blue Springs businesses because the vendor booths will be in their parking lots.”
Find more information about the festival online.
1:15 p.m. | Data from state and local health departments show Kansas added 858 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the statewide total to 28,041 cases.
For the seven-day period ending Friday, the state reported 2,639 new cases, marking the second straight week it has shown a decline from the previous week. The state reached a weekly high of 3,362 new cases from July 11-17.
The state also reported eight additional deaths on Friday and 32 new deaths for the week. It's the second straight week the state has reported an increase in deaths related to the coronavirus. The state has reported more deaths only one other week, with 34 during the week of April 11-17, according to data kept by 41 Action News.
12:30 p.m. | Friday marks the final day of increased unemployment benefits passed under the CARES Act. While millions of Americans are seeking unemployment insurance each week, it will likely be several weeks before lawmakers agree on a replacement.
11:50 a.m. | At a time when early progress seems to have been lost and uncertainty clouds the nation’s path forward, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, is calling on lawmakers — and all other Americans — to go back to public health basics such as social distancing and wearing masks.
During a hearing before Congress on Friday, Fauci was asked why Europe appeared to be handling the crisis better than the United States. He explained that the U.S. lockdown wasn't as restrictive and that the country reopened too quickly.
10:45 a.m. | A western Kansas mayor who had not been wearing a mask says he tested positive for COVID-19. Scott City Mayor Everett Green says he may have caught the virus at a political event for a state senator on July 18. Green said it's likely he'll wear a mask after he finishes a 14-day quarantine at home, according to an Associated Press report.
9:35 a.m. | Need a mask?
Volunteers are distributing masks until 11 a.m. or until they run out Friday morning at Blue Springs High School in Blue Springs.
Each package contains 10 masks.
Free masks! We’ll be at Blue Springs High School until 11 am handing out a packages of 10 masks per vehicle while supplies last! pic.twitter.com/16dbeXz6Y3— Blue Springs (@BlueSpringsGov) July 31, 2020
9:15 a.m. | The Milwaukee Brewers' long-awaited home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals has been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests, according to multiple reports.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman was the first to report the news on Twitter, adding that per his sources, the St. Louis Cardinals had multiple positive tests.
9 a.m. | It’s July 31, which means it’s time for the home opener for the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
As the country and the Kansas City region continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, it’s only appropriate that health care workers will throw out the first pitch.
Dr. Steven Stites and Dr. Dana Hawkinson from the University of Kansas Health System have been communicating with the public about how to stop the spread of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
Tonight, the pair will throw out a “virtual” first pitch during the pregame show of the Royals game against the Chicago White Sox.
8:47 a.m. | University of Kansas Health System officials gave their daily COVID-19 update.
7:43 a.m. | The Blue Valley North High School commencement for the class of 2020 was delayed until 1 p.m. Friday due to rain.
7:20 a.m. | Just starting your day? We’ve got you covered with a quick look at what you need to know.
“While it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time,” Fauci, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir say in prepared testimony for a special House panel investigating the pandemic.
5 a.m. | CVS is holding a virtual job fair to fill over 200 positions in Kansas City. The positions are both full and part-time at the company's local distribution center. The fair will take place Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.
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