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Missouri breaks coronavirus cases record again

Missouri breaks coronavirus cases record again

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Missouri officials on Saturday reported a record number of new coronavirus cases, as the percentage of positive tests also continues to rise.

Officials reported a total of 154,928 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, 2,357 more than Friday. They reported 2,580 deaths Saturday, 121 more than the day before.

The state’s own data dashboard says Missouri is seventh highest in the country for new cases over the last seven days and sixth in new deaths.

The positivity rate for COVID-19 tests over the last seven days is 19.3%, the state dashboard says, for polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests that look for the virus’ genetic material. The rate of positive tests has been increasing in recent days, even as the number of tests performed has dropped by nearly 11%, state data shows.

Moniteau County, west of Jefferson City, has a positivity rate of 49.6%. Eight others exceed 50%: Ripley, Madison, Dekalb, Sullivan, Holt, Stoddard, Osage and New Madrid, which has a rate of 65.6%.

The virus is not under control in Missouri, according to guidelines from the World Health Organization, which recommends restrictions if the positivity rate exceeds 5%.

Gov. Mike Parson has repeatedly refused to mandate mask-wearing in the state, although the state health department and federal and international health officials recommend masks.

State officials have struggled to report data consistently, changing their method of reporting and revising past numbers as new information comes in.

Missouri officials say 1,431 people were hospitalized as of Friday, down 30 from Thursday. At least 63% of ICU beds are occupied in various regions, with a high of 88% of ICU beds taken in the northwestern corner of the state.

Locally, the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force has also seen increases in the seven-day moving average of hospital admissions and patients known or suspected to have COVID-19 who are in area hospitals. There were 82 patients in area intensive care units and 40 on ventilators, they said. Hospitals have discharged 7,035 patients overall.

Illinois cases rise

Illinois on Saturday reported 339,803 total cases and 9,192 deaths, an increase of 3,629 cases and 27 deaths from the day before.

Officials said 2,073 patients were in Illinois hospitals, 422 in ICUs and 165 on ventilators.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday said he was “deeply concerned” about a rise in cases and positivity in Illinois and across the nation. The positivity rate in that state was 5.1% Friday.

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