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story.lead_photo.caption Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a press briefing April 1, 2020. Photo by Office of Missouri Governor

Gov. Mike Parson said Tuesday that recovery from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic will be driven by shopping locally.

"Now, more than ever, these businesses need our support to get back on their feet. So, I encourage all of you to shop locally. Support Missouri-based businesses. This will be key to the future of opening up our state and getting our economy back in Missouri," Parson said.

He did not have any exact numbers on how many businesses opened up Monday — the first day of the state's phased reopening — but he assumed the majority of businesses that could open did, but a lot probably did not reopen.

"We encourage Missourians to safely re-engage in the economy," and for businesses to follow guidelines and take additional precautions to protect employees and the public, Parson added.

The guidelines for businesses and other activities are available at

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe used the opportunity Tuesday to remind Missourians of the Buy Missouri program, which, under Kehoe's office, works to recruit and highlight businesses that make at least 51 percent of a product in-state and pay state taxes.

More information is available at

As of Tuesday afternoon, 8,916 Missourians have been infected since the first reported appearance of the disease in the state in early March, with 377 people who had died, according to the state's Department of Health and Senior Services.

Beyond a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a key to recovery in the long term may also be antibody tests that could identify people who may have already had the disease.

That identification could help determine how widespread the disease has been, how infectious non-symptomatic people are and who might have immunity to the disease — people who might then also be able to donate blood plasma to other people with a severe or life-threatening infection of the disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday updated its policy on antibody testing to be more stringent about its expectations for test developers.

Commercial manufacturers of antibody tests will have to submit emergency use authorizations, with data validating their product, within 10 business days of notifying the FDA that their test has been validated.

The FDA also moved to provide specific performance thresholds for the specificity and sensitivity of tests.

Missouri will be using antibody tests from DiaSorin, a multinational medical diagnostics company headquartered in northern Italy, Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS, said. The tests are one of 14 that have been approved by the FDA.

The company announced in early April it had completed studies at an Italian hospital to support the launch of its antibody testing product.

Williams said Missouri is not yet set up to do antibody testing and guessed that would be about 10 days away.

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