The death of a Democratic Party leader in western Missouri who died after contracting COVID-19 pushed the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state to 12 and the total confirmed cases past 900 as health officials hoped a brief slowdown in its spread would continue Monday.

KANSAS CITY — The death of a Democratic Party leader in western Missouri who died after contracting COVID-19 pushed the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the state to 12 and the total confirmed cases past 900 as health officials hoped a brief slowdown in its spread would continue Monday. 

The death of William "Al" Grimes, the Henry County Democratic Party chairman, was announced Sunday in a tweet from state Chairwoman Jean Peters Baker. It came after the Henry County Health Center in Clinton, about 60 miles (96.6 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City, announced that a man in his 70s had died.

"We will miss you, Al," Peters wrote. "The stars will not shine as brightly."

Peters said that Grimes, a Navy veteran, had been active in campaigns throughout eastern and central Missouri. He also ran for the Missouri House in 2014 and 2016.

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Missouri rose by 65 on Sunday, according to the state Department of Health and Senior Services. But the increase of 8% was considerably lower than the 25% increase Saturday and the average daily increase of 45% over the previous week. 

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, and death.

Grimes was first hospitalized in Clinton before being transferred on March 8 to a Kansas hospital, The Kansas City Star reported. His positive test for coronavirus was reported March 13, and he was among the state's first confirmed cases. 

His death was among two new deaths reported Sunday by the state health department. There were no details about the other new death.