CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS: Missouri reports another big increase in cases

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri surpassed 1,000 on Monday and the state's death toll rose to 13.

Health officials said that as of Monday afternoon, 1,031 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Missouri. That is an increase of 128 from Sunday.

One of the deaths announced on Sunday was William "Al" Grimes, the Henry County Democratic Party chairman. He died in Clinton, said state Chairwoman Jean Peter Baker.

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.

ATTORNEY GENERAL-PRICE GOUGING

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt's office is investigating eight Missouri-based Amazon sellers who allegedly have been charging two to 19 times the prices charged before the COVID-19 outbreak for hand sanitizer, masks and respirators.

Schmitt issued civil investigative demands requiring the third-party sellers to provide his office with details on pricing.

"Price gouging is something that we're taking incredibly seriously, and we're exploring all avenues in order to protect Missourians during these unprecedented times," Schmitt said in a statement.

MANUFACTURER LAYOFFS

An engine parts manufacturer is laying off around 400 employees at its Mexico and Hannibal plants in Missouri.

Spartan Light Metal Products cited a drop in demand for the layoffs, which the company said it expects to be temporary. The Mexico plant will lose 332 employees, with about 72 affected in Hannibal, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

Layoffs started Thursday in Mexico and Monday in Hannibal. The laid-off employees include many positions, from administrative jobs to engineers, including a company vice president.

A+ SCHOLARSHIP CHANGES

Missouri education officials have changed some requirements for the state's A+ Scholarship program, which pays community college tuition for qualifying students.

With all schools in Missouri closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has waived the ACT math score or high school GPA alternative for graduating seniors.

The department also waived the Algebra I end of course requirement for all seniors, reduced the tutoring or mentoring hours required for the A+ scholarship, and changed the GPA requirements for seniors and renewal students.