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Kansas City is considering joining the St. Louis area in imposing new restrictions designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the absence of statewide limitations.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a tweet that he participated in a call Monday with Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and several Midwestern mayors who are seeing reported cases rise, fueled in part by an increase in cases among young adults.

Lucas said recommendations that were suggested include reducing indoor dining seating capacity and reducing bar hours. Those are among the restrictions that St. Louis County announced it is enacting starting at 5 p.m. Friday.

"Mayor Lucas and local health officials take seriously the advice of Dr. Birx and will continue discussions over the next several days about the next steps in Kansas City's COVID response efforts," Lucas' spokeswoman Morgan Said said Tuesday.

Statewide, the number of confirmed cases jumped Monday by 1,123 to 43,050, with 1,201 deaths. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new 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.

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson has repeatedly refused to enact a statewide order requiring masks, citing relatively few cases in most of the state compared to hot spots in bigger cities. He hasn't wavered on his decision to reopen Missouri, even as the number of confirmed cases has spiked in the past several weeks. The state health department director attributes the recent hike in cases spread among people in the 20s. The college town of Columbia also put curfews on bars and required face masks in public places.

Even as cases rose, mask use was limited as Missouri lawmakers gathered in the Capitol on Monday to launch a special session on crime. Parson is pushing for several changes, including creating a witness protection fund to keep witnesses and their families safe before trial, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Businesses continue to struggle, with some closing as customers and workers test positive.

Brian Schmitz, co-owner of The Bellwether and the Polite Society in St. Louis, said the decisions was made to close the two restaurants temporarily after a guest expressed concerns Sunday that another diner recently had divulged in a social media post having tested tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The restaurants share some staff. Schmitz said the buildings underwent deep cleaning and that he is testing staff before reopening. He said it is disrupting the lives of his workers and proving costly.

"The stakes are higher than money," he said. "Money hurts, don't get me wrong. But we all work to live, not the other way around, and this puts that in stark contrast."

Summer Ballentine in Columbia, Mo., contributed to this report.

 

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