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First Coronavirus Death In Missouri Is Columbia-Area Resident

University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, Missouri
Nathan Lawrence | KBIA
The first reported COVID-19 death in Misssouri was a resident of the Columbia area. The patient was transported to University Hospital in Columbia on Wednesday, a day after being disagnosed with the virus.

The state of Missouri has its first confirmed death from COVID-19, the virus caused by the new coronavirus.

Gov. Mike Parson confirmed the death Wednesday at a brief press conference at the Capitol. The patient is from Boone County, and the infection was related to travel, but no other information was provided.

“We mourn the loss of one of our community members, and I thank our health care providers and first responders who had planned for this. To be prepared, but not to panic,” Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said. “We are in this together, and we will get through this together.”

The person tested positive Tuesday, Treece said. The family called 911 Wednesday morning to report a medical emergency, Treece said, and medical personnel were aware that the patient had the virus and wore the appropriate gear.

“Until additional guidance is received, these six emergency responders are being quarantined in Boone County,” Treece said.

Dr. Stevan Whitt, chief clinical officer at MU Health System, where the patient was taken, called the death “reinforcement that COVID-19 is really here, and we really need to do our part.” 

He encouraged people to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and avoid gatherings of groups larger than 10 people, as well as take other social distancing measures.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.