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Missouri coronavirus cases continue steady climb

Missouri coronavirus cases continue steady climb

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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

ST. LOUIS — The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the St. Louis region continued a slow decline Saturday as the number of new cases statewide continued to climb. 

Missouri reported 20,261 cumulative cases of the virus Saturday, including 347 new cases. The confirmed case total in Missouri has risen 2% over the past day, and 9.8% over the last week. Meanwhile, 996 deaths in the state have been attributed to the virus thus far.

The southwest part of the state continues to drive the recent uptick in cases, though two counties just south of the St. Louis region also saw upticks this week in the percentage of new virus cases. St. Francois County recorded a 32% increase over the last three days, and Iron County recorded a 50% increase in cases. 

In the St. Louis region, there were five new hospital admissions linked to the virus announced Saturday, which continues a general downward trend of local hospitalizations, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. The number of patients in intensive care units dropped to 47 from 49, and the number of patients on ventilators dropped to 30 from 33. Twenty-three patients were discharged from hospitals, which had treated and discharged a total 2,839 patients as of Thursday. 

St. Louis County, meanwhile, reported 92 new coronavirus cases Saturday morning, the highest single-day increase in cases in the county since June 17, when the county recorded 93 cases. 

Illinois public health officials announced 26 deaths and 786 new known cases of the disease on Saturday, after confirming 857 new cases the day before. The state has attributed 6,873 deaths to the virus so far.

Virus spikes have been reported in several states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas. Missouri has seen an increase in rural areas, particularly in the southwest region.

The growing scale and severity of the outbreak nationally has prompted the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force to ramp up the frequency of its briefings again. The unit had at first held daily media briefings, then scaled back to weekly addresses with live question-and-answer sessions.

Kansas City is making masks mandatory inside businesses and other places that are open to the public amid a growing number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Mayor Quinton Lucas said Friday that starting Monday, visitors and employees must wear masks when 6 feet (1.8 meters) of separation isn't feasible. The requirement will remain in place until at least July 12.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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