Woman in St. Louis County is first to test positive for COVID-19 in Missouri

Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the first confirmed coronavirus case in the state.
Updated: Mar. 1, 2020 at 10:53 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the first confirmed coronavirus case in the state was found in St. Louis County.

Parson said a 20-year-old St. Louis County woman tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Officials said she was studying abroad in Italy and flew to Chicago O’Hare International Airport Monday and then took an Amtrak to St. Louis on Wednesday, March 4.

The woman started feeling sick on Wednesday and went to Mercy Hospital St. Louis complaining of a fever and breathing issues on Friday. The coronavirus test came back ‘presumptive positive’ Saturday afternoon. Parson said she is currently in isolation at home with her family. Local health department officials said the woman was kept away from other patients and was not sick enough to stay at the hospital.

The sample was sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing. Results are expected to return within five days.

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School in Frontenac said the patient is the older sister of a Villa Duchesne student. In response, classes were cancelled for Monday so the school can work with local health officials.

Amtrak released a statement on Sunday saying Amtrak train 303 that the patient boarded on March 4 has been taken out of service as a precaution. The train along with the St. Louis and Chicago stations will be cleaned and disinfected.

“We are working in close contact with public health and emergency management teams to have the best available information to be able to share with our customers and employees who might be affected. Amtrak is notifying passengers and employees who may have been on the same train,” the statement read.

The City of St. Louis said the woman traveled through Amtrak’s downtown station at the Gateway Transportation Center. The city released the following statement, saying they are following proper guidelines:

Today, we learned that the presumptive-positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) patient from St. Louis County traveled via Amtrak through the Gateway Transportation Center in the City of St. Louis. We are glad to learn that the patient’s symptoms did not warrant hospitalization and she is recovering in quarantine at home with her family.

The Gateway Transportation Center is following guidelines to assure the cleanliness of our facility.

We encourage everyone—travelers and citizens alike—to be mindful and follow guidelines for prevention of COVID-19 spread, such as those posted by the City of St. Louis Department of Health.

Travelers who have questions about Amtrak service to/from St. Louis should contact 800-872-7245.

“I am confident that the [Department of Health and Senior Services] will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the health and safety of Missourians and Missouri communities,” Parson said.

Parson said the St. Louis County Department of Public Health will follow CDC guidelines to limit the spread of the infection.

Senator Roy Blunt said in a statement “while Missourians will understandably be concerned about today’s announcement, there is no need to panic. Governor Mike Parson and St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page are well prepared to meet this public health challenge.”

He continued to say that under the law, “Missouri will receive at least $9.9 million to support response efforts, including additional test kits, protective equipment, and other necessary supplies.”

Nationwide, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to mount on Saturday, bringing the nationwide total to more than 400. At least 19 people have died.

Positive tests are coming from all over the country, including Washington, DC, which confirmed its first presumptive positive case on Saturday, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser. The patient has no travel history outside of the US and there is no evidence of widespread community transmission of coronavirus in Washington, DC, Bowser said.

But most of the cases were in communities in Washington state, New York and California. Authorities were working to contain the spread of the virus on a cruise ship off California’s coast.

For more information on the virus and safety guidelines, visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. The St. Louis County Health hotline is 314-615-2660 or visit the county’s website at stlcorona.com to learn more.