Coronavirus sickens, kills more at Missouri nursing homes

Thee number of people infected at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles grew to a dozen residents and two staff members

Associated Press
April 01, 2020 - 3:18 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging nursing homes in Missouri as the number of sickened and dead continues to grow.

Health officials announced Tuesday that a resident in his 90s at the assisted-living facility Morningside of Springfield East died of the virus, bringing the number of deaths at that facility to five, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Meanwhile, the number sickened at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles grew to a dozen residents and two staff members, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. At least 12 other ill staff members were staying home awaiting testing, a company spokesman Craig Workman said Tuesday.

Related: Coronavirus likely dooms Missouri recreational marijuana campaign

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Frontier, which houses about 113 mostly elderly patients, was the first senior-living facility in the St. Louis area to confirm that a resident or staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The home quarantined some residents in one wing of the building, while other residents were hospitalized and sick staffers remained at home.

At least four other senior-living facilities in the region have confirmed COVID-19 cases. Among them is Anthology of Town and Country, a retirement and assisted-living home where a resident and employee were infected. Residents are confined to their rooms. Visitors have been banned.

“We understand this is a stressful time and that social isolation can be difficult — we request that family members continue to connect with their loved ones via Skype and FaceTime as these times can be lonely and isolating for all,” Anthology said in a statement.

At last count Tuesday, the state health department had reported 1,581 cases of coronavirus, 18 deaths statewide and 17,500 people have been tested – that's up from 16,000 yesterday.

The Kansas City Police Department said Wednesday that two of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and 16 others are in quarantine. Police spokesman Capt. David Jackson said those who had direct contact with the two ill employees were quarantined as a precaution. The department did not say whether those who tested positive or those in quarantine were officers or civilian workers.

A coalition of homeless youth advocates, elected officials and tenants on Wednesday planned to call on Gov. Mike Parson to suspend rent and mortgage payments amid the outbreak.

The coalition says many people lost their jobs because of the virus and won’t be able to pay for housing. They also want shelter and more services for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.