Missouri Minute: State COVID-19 count leaves out rapid tests; KC retailers anticipate Super Bowl boost

Hello, MBA readers,

Missouri’s true number of positive COVID-19 cases could be much higher than initially reported, as antigen tests have not been counted in daily reports from the state. Antigen tests, also known as rapid tests, identified an average of 644 positive tests a day in January, which means actual case numbers could be between 20% and 40% higher than reported on any given day. Amid the pandemic, a survey of Missouri teachers shows COVID-19 has caused 80% of educators in the state to feel “significantly more stress” on the job. Many teachers feel unsafe in their schools after remote learning in many areas was replaced with in-person teaching. This has led more teachers than usual to resign or retire, and many more to at least consider it. Sunday brought a dose of good news for Kansas City apparel retailers, who are expecting a boost in business with the Chiefs bound for another Super Bowl. The founder of one local shop said the Chiefs’ pursuit of another NFL championship will be “a Super Bowl for small business too.”


Stay alert

Missouri COVID-19 case count leaves out rapid tests, skewing numbers
The state does not include the results of antigen tests in its count of COVID-19 cases, meaning that Missouri’s true case numbers may be much higher than reported. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Consumer watchdogs warn against water rate increases
An attorney for one consumer advocacy group says the move by the Missouri American Water Company to raise rates by 5% would be “disproportionately bad” for St. Louis-area customers. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hepacart to move to larger space amid pandemic demand 
The Kansas City-area company will relocate to a facility more than double the size of its current space. Since the onset of COVID-19, Hepacart has seen a rise in demand for its systems that regulate airflow in hospitals. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis lawmakers move ahead with surveillance planes
The Board of Aldermen on Friday directed Mayor Lyda Krewson to enter a contract with Persistent Surveillance Systems for an 18-month term in an effort to solve more violent crime. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC startup TripleBlind to expand to Asia-Pacific region
The maker of privacy software has added business development staff to help with the expansion, which will eventually involve opening an office in the region. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Springfield group plans affordable housing development in Branson
The nonprofit Life360 is planning a community of up to 40 townhomes at an estimated cost of $5.3 million following a similar project in Springfield. (Springfield Business Journal)

Alphapointe hopes new device will drive contracts, jobs
The Kansas City-based nonprofit, which provides jobs and assistance to the visually impaired, worked with the U.S. Army to develop a new splint. It already has a contract to produce 150,000 of the splints. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Major Brands named Missouri distributor for Green Hat Gin
St. Louis-based major brands will become the state’s exclusive distributor for the gin, which is owned by Atchison, Kansas-based MGP Ingredients. (Kansas City Business Journal)


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Like many in Kansas City, local apparel retailer Charlie Hustle was in a celebratory mood Sunday after the hometown Chiefs stamped their ticket to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship. As the Chiefs try to “run it back” by winning another Super Bowl next month in Tampa, businesses like Charlie Hustle are witnessing a run on Chiefs merchandise, Startland News reports. “It’s a Super Bowl for small business too,” said Chase McAnulty, Charlie Hustle’s founder and CEO. “Their success creates an amazing hot market for apparel.”


Go figure

In a survey conducted last month by the Missouri State Teachers Association, nearly 60% of respondents said they have considered leaving the profession, The Kansas City Star reports. Some feel that their health has not been prioritized as remote learning in many areas has been scrapped because of demand for in-person classes. Many teachers have said they don’t feel safe at school amid the pandemic, but they can’t afford to resign or retire. “Teaching is a calling,” said Anna Hoard, a teacher in the Kansas City area who resigned in December because of concerns about health risks. “You’re not just leaving a job, you’re leaving a community of people you care deeply for.” Some districts in the Kansas City area have seen an increase in resignations and retirements from last year, and are expecting more when the school year ends.


Say that again

“There’s just going to be a bloodbath of people being set out all at once.”

That’s Matthew Chase, a lawyer in the St. Louis area who represents landlords and property managers in eviction cases. Since mid-March, landlords in the area have filed for almost 5,000 evictions. Many of those are held up in court until eviction moratoriums are lifted. When that happens, experts are concerned that a wave of homelessness will hit St. Louis and other areas facing similar scenarios, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Tim Thomas, a researcher at the University of California-Berkeley, called the pandemic “probably the worst thing we’ve ever seen in terms of eviction and risk of homelessness and housing instability.”


Hello, my name is

South City Hospital

After a trying bankruptcy process, St. Alexius Hospital in south St. Louis has officially closed on its sale to SA Hospital Acquisition LLC and has been renamed South City Hospital. The hospital’s new CEO, Gregory Brentano, said the new name distances the hospital from the “poor reputation” the former name held in the community, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The roughly $18 million sale of the 190-bed facility has been delayed because of disputes regarding federal stimulus money received by the hospital.


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