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St. Louis area starts to open up, but cases on rise in KC

A woman leaves a shop after purchasing face masks Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. The city remains under stay-at-home orders until May 15 in an effort to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A woman leaves a shop after purchasing face masks Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. The city remains under stay-at-home orders until May 15 in an effort to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(KY3)
Published: Jun. 15, 2020 at 1:22 PM CDT
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As the St. Louis area begins to reopen more broadly after the coronavirus shutdown, there are new concerns about a rise in cases in Kansas City.

St. Louis city and county have been under stricter guidelines because the area has seen the worst of the impact in Missouri of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Nearly half of the state's 15,810 cases, and nearly three-quarters of the 879 deaths, were in St. Louis city and county.

But things are starting to ease. Gyms, pools, bowling alleys and several other businesses that have been closed for several months were allowed to reopen Monday, and other places will soon follow.

Among them: the Gateway Arch, one of the region's prime tourist attractions. Starting Wednesday, Gateway Arch National Park will open its visitor center, museum, store and cafe. Tram rides to the top of the Arch will resume later this summer.

But in Kansas City, the head of the city's health department is worried about a spike in confirmed cases of the coronavirus. KCUR reported that the rate of new cases has increased every week since May 10, reaching an average of 52 new cases reported per day for the week that ended Friday.

"We are on a rise of a second wave," Kansas City Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer said on KCUR on Friday.

The health department said in a statement this week that the rise in confirmed cases is because of increased testing as well as new outbreaks. State data shows that Kansas City now has 1,690 confirmed cases. The city has reported 29 deaths from COVID-19.

Missouri's statewide order requiring 6-foot social distancing, limiting capacity in stores and banning visits to nursing homes expires after Monday, although it's unclear if health officials have done much to enforce it since it took effect June 1.

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