Sebastián Martinez

Sebastián Martinez is a reporter and documentary filmmaker who produces KBIA's Missouri Environment program. Sebastián got his bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in documentary journalism at the same institution. His interests include nature, conservation and science.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, the Broadway Diner was empty. The ‘50s-style greasy spoon has been a fixture of downtown Columbia for decades. But owner Dave Johnson said he’d never seen anything like this. “I was here when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and I thought that was horrible, but it’s nothing like this,” Johnson said.

The diner closed its dine-in space three days ago, following an order from the city government. A few days earlier, Johnson announced the diner would feed any students and community members, after local colleges and the public school system closed.

A Boone County resident has become the first person confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in the Missouri. Columbia Mayor Brian Treece made the announcement alongside Governor Mike Parson at the Capitol this afternoon.

Treece said the patient’s family called emergency services early this morning, and emergency responders then transported the person to University Hospital, where the patient later died.

The six emergency responders who transported the patient were then isolated at the hospital for testing. Treece says they are currently being quarantined in Boone County.