TUESDAY UPDATES: State Tech ends mask requirements – ABC17NEWS –

State Technical College of Missouri in Linn said Tuesday it is ending all of its campus mask requirements.

The college said in a news release that it is now a “mask optional campus” effective this week. State Tech made the announcement a day after the University of Missouri said it would no longer require masks outdoors, though they are still required inside.

State Tech said the small number of students on campus during the summer along with low levels of active cases contributed to the decision.

“This decision is based on a successful fall and spring semester, with record breaking enrollment numbers, where the college never had to transition to an online learning environment,” the school said in the news release.

The school stopped limiting group activities and requiring social distancing at the beginning of the week, as well, according to its website. State Tech stopped reporting active cases on its website this week but had only one as of April 30.

The school last weekend held an outdoor graduation with a record 747 students, according to the release.

Springfield drops outdoor masking requirement

Missouri’s third-largest city is easing its COVID-19 restrictions, at least for outdoor activities.

The Springfield City Council on Monday passed a bill removing the requirement that people wear masks outdoors. Masking is still required in situations where there is a large crowd.

A news release from the city cited new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s tracking has found that just 1,043 of 28,800 confirmed cases of the virus were connected to outdoor exposure, with most of those at large gatherings such as athletic events.

Columbia and Boone County leaders said Monday they will allow current coronavirus health orders to expire without a replacement May 12 as long as positive trends hold true. The University of Missouri also said Monday that it is dropping its outdoor mask requirement but that face coverings will still be required inside.

Missouri COVID-19 deaths surpass 8,800

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services added 69 coronavirus-related deaths to its dashboard Tuesday morning.

DHSS dashboard May 4.
DHSS dashboard May 4.

Though 66 of the cases were discovered during the department’s weekly analysis of death certificates, three were new. In total, 83,883 Missourians have died from the coronavirus.

Health officials also reported an additional 312 cases of the virus confirmed through PCR testing, bringing the total number of confirmed cases during the pandemic to 503,615.

DHSS also added 198 probable COVID-19 cases discovered through antigen testing. Since the pandemic began, 83,883 probable cases have been found through this method.

Missouri has the tenth-fewest new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, according to the state dashboard.

The sate’s positivity rate — the percentage of positive PCR tests in a week — is up nearly half a percentage point over the past week. The rate stood at 5.1% on Tuesday.

Missouri’s vaccination program continues to slow down even with millions of residents yet to be vaccinated. The seven-day average of daily vaccinations dropped to about 23,500 on Monday — nearly half the number given out daily on April 11. Nearly 38% of the state has had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to the dashboard.

Vaccination rates are highest among older populations — 75.8% of people age 75-84 have at least started vaccination. Close to 1.8 million Missourians are now fully vaccinated.

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