KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson sat down with 41 Action News Anchor Dia Wall on Thursday during a visit to Kansas City to discuss schools reopening; social justice, crime and policing; the COVID-19 pandemic; and the state’s economy.
The number of new cases in Missouri has escalated since Memorial Day weekend and continues to set records as the number of deaths rises as well. The positivity rate has shot up to nearly 10% during the last week.
Here is an excerpt of Wall’s interview centered on the COVID-19 pandemic in Missouri and his administration’s response after he met with KC-area school leaders on Thursday:
Dia Wall: As far as the response to COVID-19, where do you feel your office and team have executed well and what do you believe are areas where you missed the mark?
Gov. Mike Parson: "What is really happening in Missouri and how do we build a model and a dashboard that gives me good information? What we soon found out is how it was affecting St. Louis, how it was affecting Kansas City, how it was affecting the African-American community, how it was affecting nursing homes — then we could start putting resources in those areas. Now, the most frustrating thing about it was all the supply chain, just trying to get basic supplies."
Wall: Cases are rising at the highest level since the beginning of this pandemic. Missouri is on travel advisory lists all over the country. How do we start trending downward?
Parson: "Nobody knew the way COVID-19 was going to go, who it was going to affect, early on. Forty-five days ago we were doing 4,000 to 5,000 tests a week. Now, we're doing 90,000, so we're going to see more positive cases."
Wall: What about the positivity rate though?
Parson: “That's what I'm saying. I think as long as we keep doing high numbers of testing, you're going to find that."
Wall: What do you feel are some proud moments during the past few months?
Parson: "The health care system in Missouri, they'll never get enough credit for what they went through during COVID-19. Someday, we're going to look back and say they did one heck of a job dealing with that day in and day out on the front lines."
Wall: From the beginning, you have pushed for accountability among Missourians. Do you regret not issuing more mandates around social distancing, protocols for businesses or mask wearing?
Parson: "I don't believe in the mandate of a mask across the state. I think it's very important when you look as governor of the state of Missouri, different areas are totally different in this state and you've got to understand that. It was never about anti-mask; it was anti-mandates."
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