The town of Eureka won't stray from St. Louis County's stay-at-home order after all.
Eureka Mayor Sean Flower said that based on feedback and discussions in the community, he has dropped his plan that would have allowed businesses to reopen starting Monday, in accordance with Gov. Mike Parson's statewide reopening.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page's order remains in place through mid-May, as does St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson's order. More than half of the state's 7,562 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, have occurred in St. Louis city and county, along with about two-thirds of Missouri's 329 deaths. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
Flower posted a letter Tuesday saying Eureka, a city of about 10,000 residents, was breaking from the county mandate, citing the economic damage caused by the shutdown aimed at slowing the virus' spread.
His latest letter, posted Thursday on Facebook, said it's now clear that businesses aren't ready to reopen. They need to call back laid-off workers, establish social distancing guidelines, order new inventory and make other preparations, Flower wrote, adding that businesses and residents also are "rightly concerned about the health issue."
MORE NURSING HOME DEATHS
Five residents of a St. Louis County long-term care facility have died "presumably from COVID-19," the administrator said.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Parc Provence administrator Kathy Aragon told residents and their families about the deaths in a note on Wednesday.
Coronavirus deaths have been reported at several other Missouri nursing homes and residential care facilities, including 16 at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles. The death of the latest resident, a woman in her 70s, was reported Thursday.
Grandview Health Care in Washington, Missouri, has reported at least 10 deaths. Five residents of Morningside East, an assisted living facility in Springfield, have died.
HEALTH CARE WORKERS INFECTED
Officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said Thursday that at least 396 St. Louis-area health care workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Dr. Alex Garza said that since the region has more than 71,000 employees of four hospital systems, the percentage of illnesses is low.
GOP CONGRESSIONAL CONVENTIONS CHANGE
The Missouri Republican Party said its congressional district conventions will be held by mail, rather than in-person, due to the coronavirus.
"While many state and local leaders hope to begin opening Missouri in the coming weeks, it is clear that holding in-person gatherings of hundreds of people would be inadvisable in the month of May," Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Kay Hoflander said in a statement.
The conventions are held in each of the eight congressional districts, with each district selecting three delegates and three alternates for the Republican National Convention. One presidential elector also is chosen for each district.