Cole County officials made the right call by joining various other counties in issuing stay-at-home orders.
We ask Gov. Mike Parson to do the same on a statewide basis.
It's a drastic method that would further damage our economy. It's also proven to be effective in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
The more this public emergency continues, the more it becomes a Sophie's choice: Do we want to protect our health or protect the economy?
Both already have suffered. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced 3.28 million people filed jobless claims during the prior week. That quadrupled the previous record.
As of Saturday, Missouri had 838 cases - 17 of which were in Cole County - and 10 deaths.
Missouri cities that have stay-at-home orders include St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia.
Cole County Health Director Kristi Campbell said the county issued a stay-at-home order because we're now seeing evidence of "community spread." That means people are infected with the virus without having traveled to a location where the virus is known to be or having come in contact with someone who has traveled to such a place.
The order will help protect our county's residents. But we need a unified effort by the state, not just some cities and counties, to effectively fight this virus.
Unfortunately, Parson didn't discuss the issue during his Saturday news conference.
Late last week, a health care workers union joined those calling on the governor to issue a stay-at-home directive.
"Our members, and tens of thousands of fellow health care workers across Missouri, are risking their health and safety and putting their families at risk when they return home each night," said Lenny Jones, vice president and state director at SEIU Healthcare Missouri Kansas. "The lack of support and leadership from our state government is unacceptable. There is no time to delay, COVID-19 is here and action to protect those on the front lines must be swift and comprehensive."
We agree. The governor's repeated calls for "personal responsibility" to fight the virus are not enough.
We need to bite the bullet and have a statewide stay-at-home order to fight this growing threat.