Coronavirus sickens, kills more from Missouri nursing homes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak is ravaging Missouri nursing homes as the number sickened and dead continues to grow.

Health officials announced Tuesday that a resident of the assisted living facility Morningside of Springfield East in his 90s died of the virus, bringing the number of deaths from that facility to five.

Meanwhile, the number sickened at Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles has grown to a dozen residents and two staff members, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. And at least 12 other ill staff members are staying home and awaiting testing, a company spokesman Craig Workman said Tuesday.

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.

Frontier, which houses about 113 mostly elderly patients, was the first senior-living facility in the St. Louis area to confirm that a resident or staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The home has quarantined some residents in a specially reserved wing of the building, while other residents have been hospitalized and sick staffers remain at home.

At least four other senior-living facilities in the region have since publicly confirmed COVID-19 cases. Among them is Anthology of Town and Country, a retirement and assisted-living home where a resident and employee have been sickened. It is now requiring residents to remain in their rooms after previously banning visitors.

"We understand this is a stressful time and that social isolation can be difficult — we request that family members continue to connect with their loved ones via Skype and FaceTime as these times can be lonely and isolating for all," Anthology said in a written statement.

At last count Tuesday the state health department reported 1,327 cases of coronavirus, a 28.7% increase from Monday.

Meanwhile, a coalition including homeless youth advocates, elected officials and tenants on Wednesday will call on Gov. Mike Parson to suspend rent and mortgage payments amid the outbreak.

The coalition says many people lost their jobs because of the virus and won't be able to pay for housing. They also want shelter and more services for people experiencing homelessness during the outbreak.