Number of Missouri coronavirus cases tops 250, with 8 deaths

A woman wears a mask while getting into a car during a shelter in place order due to the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease in Dallas, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Texas' lieutenant governor says the U.S. should get back to work in the face of the global pandemic and that people over the age of 70 will "take care of ourselves." The Centers for Disease Control says people over the age of 65 are at higher risk from the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The number of positive coronavirus cases in Missouri has increased to more than 250 and state health officials said the rise is due partly to better access to testing.

Eight deaths from the virus have been reported, including three women who lived at an assisted-living center in Springfield. A fourth resident of the Morningside East home is hospitalized.

State health officials reported 255 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, an increase from 183 on Monday. With several health care centers and systems operating mobile testing sites, the state now lists 28 places offering testing.

For most people, the coronavirus 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.

St. Louis County has the most cases, with 100. Currently, 28 of the state's 114 counties has reported at least one confirmed case. The 20-29 age group has reported the most cases, with 60, followed by 51 cases in the 50-59 age group, according to health department statistics.

Gov. Mike Parson has banned all gatherings of more than 10 people but was resisting pressure to take stronger measures. On Tuesday, Parson said issuing a statewide stay-at-home order would devastate the state's economy but he said he could change his mind if he becomes convinced it is necessary.