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Virus is final knell for 3 schools in Archdiocese

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three Catholic elementary schools that were already struggling financially will close because of the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as the outbreak continues to hit businesses and institutions across the state.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis announced Friday that Most Holy Trinity Catholic School and Academy, 1435 Mallinckrodt St. in Hyde Park; Christ Light of the Nations School, 1650 Redman Rd. in Spanish Lake, in St. Louis County; and St. Joseph School in Manchester will close at the end of the school year.

The archdiocese said that it had provided financial help for all three schools but that the support was hurt by the suspension of public Masses and the resulting loss of contributions.

“The incredibly difficult decisions to close [these schools] were made after conducting an analysis of the financial feasibility of these schools following the impact of the virus,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

At a meatpacking plant in northern Missouri, at least 400 employees had undergone voluntary testing for COVID-19 this week. Public Justice, a nonprofit group that advocates for workers, said many of the 1,100 employees at a Smithfield plant in Milan had tested positive, but an exact number was not released.

Sullivan County Memorial Hospital CEO Tony Keene said the hospital and several other agencies had helped with the testing in a tent outside the Milan plant, KTVO reported.

A Smithfield spokesman said in an email that the company did not confirm COVID-19 cases at its plants out of respect for its employees.

Gov. Mike Parson toured on Friday a suburban Kansas City Ford plant that plans to bring some employees back Monday. Parson inspected new safety procedures at the plant in Claycomo, where 2,500 employees will return to work Monday as part of a national trend of autoworkers going back on the job. More than 7,300 worked in the Missouri plant when it shut down in March.

Missouri reported 10,456 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, an increase of 139 from Thursday. The state also has recorded 576 deaths, 14 more than Thursday.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up after 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.

And a daycare operator in Columbia lost an effort to receive a temporary restraining order against Boone County regulations meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, KMIZ reported.

Paul Prevo, owner of Tiger Tots, sued Boone County health department director Stephanie Browning on Monday, arguing that she did not have the authority to impose regulations that are stricter than Parson’s order allowing nonessential businesses to reopen on May 4.

Judge Brouck Jacobs said he was deferring to Browning’s expertise in determine the best ways to combat the virus and ruled that Prevo’s lawyers did not show they are likely to succeed in the case, which is legally required to receive a temporary restraining order.

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