KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) -- Kansas City is banning all public events with more than 1,000 attendees as cancellations mounted around the state because of concerns over the new coronavirus.
Mayor Quinton Lucas made the announcement Thursday, shortly after organizers cancelled a St. Patrick's Day parade in the city. St. Louis and Springfield also canceled their parades.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 Conference canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments before Thursday's games at the Sprint Center and Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
"Protecting all of our residents remains our top priority, which means that how we interact over the weeks and months ahead will need to change dramatically as we confront our current public health challenge," Lucas said. "I appreciate our community's understanding during this ever-changing time and encourage all residents to continue exercising good judgment."
So far, Missouri has one confirmed case of COVID-19. A woman in her 20s who had been studying in Italy tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home to the area.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
Several universities in the state have been moving classes online due to the virus that WHO has now labelled a pandemic, while Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said on Twitter late Wednesday that the chamber was cancelling its session next week.
Meanwhile, the German agribusiness giant Bayer AG reopened a suburban St. Louis campus Thursday after an employee who was tested for the new coronavirus found out the results were negative.
The campus in Creve Coeur, which is Bayer's North American headquarters for its Crop Science Division, had been closed for precautionary cleaning. But the nearby office of its tech-focused subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, remains closed for cleaning, as do Bayer's campuses in Whippany and Morristown, New Jersey. The Whippany office is the company's U.S. headquarters for all of its divisions.