JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson addressed the concerns over the recent rises in COVID-19 cases in the state, stressing this is not a surge or a second wave.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Missouri is reporting 18,577 cases and 966 deaths.
During Tuesday afternoon’s press conference, Parson said he has no intention of closing Missouri back down at this point, KTVI reported.
He said Missouri officials continue to monitor the numbers, and he remains confident that the state is on the road to recovery.
The comments are in direct contrast with Dr. Rex Archer, the Kansas City Health Department director, who said reopening so soon sends a false signal to people. He expect a second wave of deaths related to COVID-19 because of it.
The state has ramped up testing over the last few weeks. Parson said the more testing that is done, the more positive cases Missouri will see.
State officials said the recent outbreaks are in specific areas to box in the virus and prevent further spread. One of those outbreaks is at a Tyson processing plant in southwest Missouri.
“As we opened up the state, we knew, and the Governor was insistent, that we be ready for outbreaks,” Randall Williams, the Missouri Health Director, said.
Williams said because of the outbreaks, there’s a lot of testing going on and the state has sent contact tracers down there to help. The CDC is also coming to the state to try to find the mode of transmission.
Williams said officials in other states have even called his office, asking what they are doing to keep the cases and hospitalizations low.
Parson said the rate of positive cases is 5.6%. He said the vast number of patients aren’t hospitalized, that more people are recovering, and that the state’s hospitals are not overwhelmed.
The Department of Higher Education and Work Force Development said there are signs the economy is coming back. However, officials are mindful that many people are still laid off and that some companies will not be able to hire everyone back.
The department’s Return Strong program was launched earlier this year to help strengthen the workforce and create opportunities. Officials said there have been about 1,000 participants, and they expect that to grow. They are also helping job centers open safely to help Missourians find work.