A state medical group warns that a shelter-in-place order is needed to prevent "exponential growth" of COVID-19 throughout Missouri.

"If things progress as is, COVID-19 patients will deplete the state's available hospital beds, ventilators and precious personal protection equipment," the Missouri State Medical Association warned today.

"Any additional time without a shelter-in-place requirement wastes crucial healthcare resources, including manpower."

The statement by Missouri's largest association of physicians and surgeons was sent to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson today, requesting a shelter-in-place order by executive action. It was signed by James DiRenna, president of the organization. 

The organization said a shelter-in-place order is now the only way to curb "exponential growth" of the pandemic in Missouri.

"We accept the likelihood that a number of physicians will contract COVID-19 while treating the citizens of Missouri. Despite that known fact, we are prepared to carry out our responsibilities for as long as needed," the organization stated.

Andy Ostmeyer is the metro editor at the Globe. His email address is aostmeyer@joplinglobe.com.