Gamma Healthcare Inc., a company that provided laboratory and radiology services for hundreds of Missouri nursing homes, has shut down its operations after it was unable to resolve differences with federal regulators.

The 39-year-old, Poplar Bluff, Missouri-based company informed employees on Tuesday that it would cease all laboratory operations effective just after midnight.

Missouri hospital officials have been warning this week that their facilities are running low on space as the number of COVID-19 patients in the state hits its highest level so far.

Although Gov. Mike Parson and the state’s COVID-19 dashboard suggest that plenty of hospital space remains, newly updated federal data and the state hospital association undermine that contention.

For most of the COVID-19 pandemic's duration, Kansas and Missouri have been spared from the overwhelming crush of cases that overwhelmed hospitals and communities on the coasts and in the South.

But the current surge, which has been breaking records for case numbers in both states, is occurring in ways previously unseen in the U.S. and showing red flags for disease experts.

And it's happening as more and more members of the general public have grown increasingly impatient with governments taking steps to control it.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is calling lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a second special legislative session to deal with a supplemental budget.

“It’s more of a technical session,” Parson said at his press briefing on Wednesday. “It should be very short. They should be in and out quickly.”

The session will begin on Thursday, Nov. 5, just two days after the election. The main priority is ensuring the state has access to additional federal funding for coronavirus response and recovery.

Missouri education officials aren’t ready to declare teachers essential workers, but a few school districts are doing it anyway.

Essential employees can continue coming to work if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus, as long as they don’t have any symptoms. It’s a classification that’s kept hospitals and health clinics staffed throughout the pandemic. Making school personnel essential could keep schools open for in-person learning during an unprecedented substitute teacher shortage.