Confirmed COVID-19 cases increase
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise in Missouri as the death total begins nearing 100.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, there are 3,539 positive COVID-19 cases in the state as of Thursday afternoon, with 77 deaths — up 19 — from Wednesday.
The number of confirmed cases in Scott County has reached 13, while New Madrid County now has six confirmed cases. Mississippi County still does not have a confirmed case.
Other local county positive case totals as of Thursday afternoon are:
• Cape Girardeau 24
• Dunklin 10
• Stoddard 9
• Pemiscot 4
• Butler 6
• Bollinger 3
Cape Girardeau County reported their first death on Tuesday, a resident in their 80s. There has also been one death reported in Carter County along with St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve County as well.
Twenty-two of the 77 Missouri residents who have died were age 80 or older, and 19 were in their 70s. Ten were in their 60s and five in their 50s. Just two of the 77 deaths confirmed by the state involved people younger than 50.
Missouri’s health chief said Wednesday that he is directing medical professionals to provide racial data about patients who become ill or die from the coronavirus as some black lawmakers raised concerns about the lack of such information.
Missouri so far has not released data about the race of people who test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 or who die from its complications. Health director Randall Williams said that’s because about 40% of medical providers have not been reporting that information, although they have been reporting patients’ ages.
“We sent out a directive today to reinforce that we do want that demographic because we think it’s really important,” Williams said in response to a question from The Associated Press.
Some other jurisdictions have already been reporting racial data. Of the victims whose demographic information was publicly shared by officials — nearly 3,300 of the nation’s 13,000 deaths thus far — about 42% were black, according to an AP analysis. African Americans account for roughly 21% of the total population in the areas covering the analysis.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.