Missouri Gov. Mike Parson extends reopening Phase 1 to June 15

Dr. Randall Williams May 28 COVID-19 briefing.png
Posted at 3:18 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 16:28:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday that Phase 1 of his Show Me Strong Recovery Plan will be extended through June 15.

The initial reopening phase, which began May 4, was set to expire Sunday.

Parson said the extension “aligns with our executive orders as well as the state of emergency.”

“We are very pleased with how Phase 1 has gone so far ...,” Parson said. “We are extending Phase 1, not because Missouri has taken a step back, but we want to be sure we are prepared for Phase 2.”

Businesses can continue to operate as they have during the last month.

“There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as precautions are taken and six feet of social distancing can be maintained,” Parson said.

Phase 2 “will be more open,” Parson said, but he wants to do it safely.

“We’ve got to start preparing ourselves that we’re going to have to live without an order,” Parson said. “June the 15th, we’ll make another decision.”

He said he’s “extremely confident” the state health department and hospitals in the state will be prepared to keep up in the event of a second wave.

“We’re much better prepared for it,” Parson said, adding that Missouri has developed the capacity to “put up a full-blown hospital in 10 to 11 days” if it becomes necessary.

Parson said the state remains in good shape as far as testing capacity, including the announcement that CVS will open COVID-19 testing sites throughout the state primarily in Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield.

The self-administered drive-thru tests will expand testing capacity in the state by another 1,000 tests per day.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams said the state performed 5,500 tests Wednesday across the state through community sampling, sentinel testing and boxed-in strategies.

Williams said the response to community testing has “exceeded capacity” and, while not a true prevalence testing, has been beneficial for the state in assessing the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said two weeks ago Missouri changed its regulations to require any long-term care facility in the state to report any COVID-19 case among patients or staff.

"And that triggers a very robust response," Williams said.

Missouri began testing everyone at more than 50 long-term care facilities last week and has added 10 more facilities to the testing list after reporting new COVID-19 cases this week.

Parson also said the state has plenty of personal protective equipment as well as hospital capacity and remains encouraged by COVID-19 data related to the number of new cases in Missouri.

He will visit St. Louis and Springfield. He will participate in St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page’s briefing Friday and will resume daily briefings from Jefferson City on Monday.