COVID-19 update: First death in Missouri, and news for local business


Hannah A Bullock and Azaibi Tamin

Photo courtesy of the CDC Newsroom library by Hannah A Bullock and Azaibi Tamin.

St. Louis City announced its first case of coronavirus after a St. Louis University (SLU) student that came back from abroad tested positive. An employee of the Wuller Hall building on the SLU campus has also been tested for COVID-19 and is still awaiting results. Additionally, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced a second presumptive positive case in St. Louis City Wednesday, March 18 via tweet. She said there is reason to believe that there was “community exposure” because the individual continued to work in the city after exhibiting symptoms. 

In St. Louis County, another case was reported. The individual is between 60-70 years old and how they contracted the virus is unknown. According to a press conference held by Missouri Governor Mike Parson, the first Missouri death from COVID-19 occurred Wednesday, March 18 in Boone County after the individual tested positive the day before. The individual was between 60-70 years old and likely contracted the virus while traveling abroad. Additionally, two Washington University physicians tested positive for COVID-19. On March 19, five new cases were reported in St. Louis County according to St. Louis County Executive and Department of Public Health. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 24 people in Missouri have tested positive for COVID-19 as of March 19.

On Tuesday, a press conference was held with Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Franklin County and St. Charles County officials. At the conference, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page stated that county restaurants and bars are only able to offer delivery and window services. Page said these restrictions will go into effect Thursday at midnight going into Friday.

Governor Parson announced Wednesday that the April 7 Missouri municipal elections will be postponed until June 2 due to COVID-19,  which includes Kirkwood school board and Prop-S voting. He also stated that with the help of Washington University and University of Missouri Columbia developing tests, Missouri will be able to conduct  7,000-10,000 tests in the coming days. With this development, he said Missouri residents can expect the number of known positive tests to rise. 

Kirkwood has also seen local closures. The Kirkwood Public Library closed Tuesday, March 17 and will remain closed until further notice. The YMCA location in Kirkwood also closed Tuesday with the intent of reopening Monday, March 30. Additionally, Kirkwood City Hall will only be accessible by appointment.

On behalf of the Trump Administration, Tuesday, March 17, United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also announced that some Americans may be receiving cash payments within the next 1-2 weeks to help stimulate the economy. The government is looking to inject $1 trillion dollars in forms of direct checks, loans and small business liquidity (freeing up money for small businesses) into the economy. It is still unknown how these individuals would be chosen or how these national measures will look for Missouri as a state.

According to a press release from the office of Governor Parson, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program will provide aid to small businesses. The SBA will offer low-interest disaster recovery loans to help Missouri businesses hurt by COVID-19. Businesses can claim loans up to $2 million to put toward damages caused by the pandemic, and make payments at a lower interest rate (3.75 % for small businesses and 2.75 % for non-profits). More resources regarding this plan can be found here.

In his March 18 address to the nation, President Trump enacted the Defense Production Act. The act, allowing temporary expansion of executive power and first enacted in response to the Korean War in 1950, will give the executive branch more control over the economy. Implementation may include mandated production of medical supplies, face masks and hospital gowns.