SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – A local leaders and health officials say we’re in the midst of the second wave of the coronavirus in the Ozarks.
This announcement was made Tuesday afternoon at the Public Safety Center in Greene County.
“It is clear to me we’re currently in the teeth of a second wave of COVID-19,” said Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard.
In fact, Goddard says the county added nearly double the amount of cases during the first two weeks of this month than the first two weeks of October.
“These are the darkest days of the pandemic. Put simply, we need your help,” he said.
He says this puts a further strain on our health care system ahead of the holiday and flu seasons.
Officials are urging the community to alter their plans for gathering with family and friends. Some suggestions include eating outdoors or with windows open.
“It’s going to test our healthcare delivery system even more than what we’re currently testing it,” said Goddard.
Tuesday, CoxHealth shared an image from inside its COVID-19 unit. One picture shows the unit at the start of the pandemic, basically empty. A second picture shows the unit mostly filled with patients and healthcare workers.
“I wish that I could say there was some magic lever that we could pull to stop disease transmission. It’s all going to revolve around human behavior,” said Goddard.
Springfield will not roll restrictions back to where they were at the start of the pandemic.
Mayor Ken McClure says that without federal funding, like the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program, closing down businesses is not an option.
“We have every expectation that we can meet the challenge and that businesses can continue to operate and be open during the season,” he said.
McClure says he commends other communities for issuing masking ordinances.
“The more municipalities that will follow suit the better. I think that makes us far more able to deal with this,” he said.
Goddard said, “Knowing that we’re going to have the vaccine starting to arrive in our communities by the end of next month and put into arms, I think that’s what we’ve got to cling to.”
Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon says the commission doesn’t have the authority to issue and enforce a county-wide masking ordinance.
It’s up to the mayors of cities and municipalities throughout Greene County to do that.
Springfield’s current civil emergency declaration and masking ordinance will remain in effect until January 9th but can be extended.
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