Missouri’s health director testifies about coronavirus funding and St. Louis County case

Regional News

Dr. Randall Williams (Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)

(Missourinet)– Missouri’s health director testified Tuesday in Jefferson City about the one presumptive positive result for coronavirus in the state. The case involves a college student who is from the St. Louis suburb of Ladue.

State Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams testified before the Legislative Joint Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Awareness.

“That patient had, as (St. Louis County Executive) Sam Page has said, had done the right things,” Williams testifies. “She had come from a country which is one of our flagged countries, she had gotten symptomatic.”

Dr. Williams tells lawmakers that the woman called a hotline, got into care and become sicker, then was tested.

Governor Parson and County Executive Dr. Sam Page announced the St. Louis County case at a Saturday evening news conference in Clayton. The woman had recently traveled to Italy.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has not confirmed the St. Louis County case yet. Dr. Page told reporters Saturday that the case is highly likely to come back confirmed as positive.

President Trump signed the coronavirus emergency funding package, which contains about $9.9 million for Missouri. Dr. Williams tells lawmakers that the state has received the appropriation for the funding, but not the funding itself yet.

“Which (the funding) will be incredibly helpful,” Williams testifies. “I’ll cut to the chase, we do not plan to ask for GR (general revenue) funding, we think we have the funds to cover what we need.”

Williams testifies that DHSS is developing guidelines about how that $9.9 million will be spent.

Dr. Williams also testifies that about 35 to 40 tests have been done in Missouri for coronavirus. All of the others in Missouri have tested negative.

Former State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, who is a physician, also testified before the committee on Tuesday.

He testified that Missouri lawmakers should be ready to dip into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Schaaf also predicts coronavirus will impact Missouri prisons and hospitals.

Former Senator Schaaf is also calling on lawmakers to give Governor Parson the authority to release non-violent prisoners immediately. Schaaf works for a company that provides health care to Missouri inmates, and emphasizes he is not speaking for the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC). He also says he did not clear his remarks with the governor.

As for Dr. Williams, he reiterated Tuesday what he said last week to a House special committee: that he’s hoping for the best but preparing for the worst regarding the coronavirus.

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