Steering Wheel Driving Generic

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials on Wednesday announced a new effort to provide transportation for those who need a ride to COVID-19 vaccination sites.

The “Get a Ride” online transportation guide, available at MOStopsCOVID.com/ride, helps connect riders with providers. The state health department said in a news release that transportation services such as OATS Transit and Southeast Missouri Transportation Service, which normally serve only older people and those with disabilities, are now available for anyone who needs a ride to get a coronavirus vaccine.

Most providers are offering free rides, others at reduced costs.

“In Missouri, we recognize there is a significant amount of older adults, people with disabilities and low-income individuals who are at higher risk of contracting the virus and don’t have cars, don’t drive, don’t live near public transit and live in rural areas far from vaccination sites,” Sara Hart Weir, who heads the Missouri Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution, said in a statement.

Transportation barriers are among the reasons that vaccinations continue to lag in Kansas City’s Hispanic community, the Kansas City Star reported.

The city’s health department said those self-reporting as Hispanic received 2.6% of doses distributed by health department clinics during the week ending March 11, the most recent data available. Hispanics make up 11% of the city’s population. The previous week, Hispanics received 3.3% of doses.

Frank Thompson, deputy director of the health department, said Hispanic people in Kansas City are 2.7 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people and 1.8 times more likely than Black people.

Missouri continues to rank among the bottom 10 states for the percentage of adults who have received at least one dose. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard shows 23% of Missourians have received a shot. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that about 25.7% of adults in the U.S. have received a vaccine.

The state reported 392 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday, and five more deaths. All told, the state has reported 486,917 confirmed cases and 8,434 deaths since the pandemic began.

A coronavirus-inspired eviction moratorium will end as early as next week in St. Louis County. A news release from the St. Louis County Circuit Court said the Sheriff’s Office will prioritize evictions for those allegedly involved in drug-related criminal activity at rental properties.

Evictions also will focus on situations where a failure to evict could cause physical injury or significant property damage to other tenants or landlords, and at property rented for commercial purposes.

Other evictions will resume April 5.

Judge Michael D. Burton said federal funds are available for tenants needing help with rent and utilities, and for landlords who have lost income due to the eviction moratorium.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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