Gov. Parson: COVID-19 pandemic will only get worse

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JEFFERSON CITY- Governor Parson said during his daily press briefing on Monday that it could be 60 to 90 days before Missouri is past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think we all got to realize that this is going to be a long term and I don’t want to give false hope to anybody," he said. "That is a best case scenario."

The governor said he hopes to get new data and statistics on the virus by mid-April. 

Over the weekend, state parks were busy with lots of visitors, despite the governor's executive order mandating social distancing. When asked about it on Monday, the governor said he was not happy.

"We are a little disappointed there at what happened over the weekend at some of the state parks," he said. "We are trying to leave facilities like that open for the general public but unfortunately people did not abide by the rules."

Governor Parson said his administration is discussing whether they should keep those parks open.

After President Trump announced he was extending the national social distancing guidelines through the end of next month, Parson said he would expand his executive order. It was originally set to expire a week from Monday.

"We know we are going to expand that. I think it is just a matter of where we move that time frame to," he said. "I am thinking we are 30 to 60 days away from lifting any kind of orders but we are evaluating that daily."

Parson also approved a waiver granting reciprocity for physicians and surgeons who want to assist Missourians during the COVID-19 crisis. During the State of Emergency, doctors licensed in another state are able to provide in-person and telehealth care, according to a statement from Missouri's Department of Commerce and Insurance. 

"By having this access granted to additional providers, we increase our ability to meet the needs of Missouri patients who are being tested and treated for COVID-19," the statement said.  "The purpose of this reciprocity waiver is to allow healthcare professionals to provide care in  areas of significant need during this public health crisis without having the barrier of government licensure issues to hamper their ability to practice in Missouri due to current state government regulations."

Nurses are not included in the waiver. Missouri is part of the Nurse Licensure Compacy, which allows nurses with a multistate license to provide care across state lines.