Mo. announces end of COVID-19 pandemic phase

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announces that the state is switching to an endemic phase of handling COVID-19 during news conference on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Parson declared that "the COVID-19 crisis is over" in Missouri. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announces that the state is switching to an endemic phase of handling COVID-19 during news conference on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri. Parson declared that “the COVID-19 crisis is over” in Missouri. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)

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UPDATED 9:19 AM PT – Thursday, March 31, 2022

Missouri is ending its COVID-19 emergency designation and will transition to an endemic phase of the pandemic. During a press conference on Wednesday, state Governor Mike Parson (R) said that Missouri will begin treating the virus as an endemic starting on Friday.

Parson asserted Missouri has learned a lot over the past two years, but noted the virus shows no sign of completely going away. He explained that this means there’s no need to continue living life in “crisis mode.”

”Endemic does not mean the end, it refers to the constant presence of the disease within a population or geographic area just as Influenza, HIV, Tuberculosis and Strep Throat are endemic in our country,” explained Paula Nickelson, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “Entering an endemic phase does not mean there will not be future periods of increased cases and medical surges.”

Nickelson stressed the new approach will allow local and state officials to closely monitor the virus and hotspots without imposing overbearing restrictions on residents.

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