Gov. Parson: 'I don't feel guilty' about record increase in positive COVID-19 cases

2 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, June 23 2020 Jun 23, 2020 Tuesday, June 23, 2020 10:15:00 PM CDT June 23, 2020 in News
By: Claire Colby and Greta Serrin, KOMU 8 Digital Producers
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JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri is on the road to recovery, but taking precautions against COVID-19 is still necessary, Gov. Mike Parson told Missourians on Tuesday during his afternoon briefing. 

"Social distancing is still critically important to protect ourselves and others," he said. "If you can't social distance, wear a mask or face covering and take additional precautions. Be proactive, wash your hands and use common sense." 

In a tweet after the briefing Parson said the state is not overwhelmed with cases and is "NOT currently experiencing a second wave. We have NO intentions of closing Missouri back down at this point in time."

According to Columbia Missourian reporting, "Missouri recorded its highest number of positive coronavirus cases Tuesday with 430 new cases statewide. As of Tuesday, there have been 18,584 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state and 966 deaths, according to the city of Columbia's website. Boone County has recorded 287 cases, including 73 active, and two deaths. The county had reported 277 cases on Monday."

KOMU 8 reporter Caroline Dade asked Parson during the briefing if he felt any personal responsibility for increased case numbers after reopening.

"I don't feel guilty about that," he said. "I don't know if any one person is responsible for that."

Then, he compared the virus to the flu and to automobile accidents.

"Do I feel guilty because we have car accidents, and people die every day? No, I don't feel guilty about that. Each person that gets in those situations, things happen like that in life, they do."

The governor also directly questioned Dade.

Parson asked if she felt responsibility for her reporting. She said, "I feel responsibility if I report inaccuracies, but that's not what we're talking about here."

Missouri has not been under a statewide COVID-19 order for nearly two weeks.

Randall Williams, director of the state's Department of Health and Human Services, said the state worked hard to respond to outbreaks of COVID-19 in southwest Missouri this weekend. 

"We've sent this weekend contact tracers down to that area," he said. "The CDC is coming in this week to do an epidemiological investigation like they've been doing in Northwest Arkansas to see if they can figure out the mode of transmission."

Missouri's DHSS is reporting 18,577 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 866 deaths from the virus. 

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