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The City of Springfield, Greene County and Springfield-Greene County Health Department will host an in-person media briefing at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 30 in the Training Room of the Public Safety Center, 330 W. Scott.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon and Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard will announce plans to begin the gradual reopening of nearly all businesses next week. Current Stay-At-Home orders are in place until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 3.
As of April 29, Greene County has reported 95 total cases of COVID-19; 16 of which are active cases. Eight have died. During the six weeks that residents have been asked to stay at home unless activity is essential, Greene County public health officials have ramped up testing significantly, identified and quarantined those who came in contact with positive cases, or isolated confirmed positive cases. Local hospitals have scaled operations by securing additional personal protective equipment (PPE), expanding bed and ventilator capacity. In total, 442 people have been under the watchful eye of local public health investigators at any one given time, as the battle against the new virus continues. This strategy is called contact tracing and has been critical in helping to contain the virus.
“While we must be prepared for a slow and measured road to recovery, we are positive about the future and confident that we will come back strong,” said Mayor McClure. The Mayor and County Commission relied on expert advice from Health Director Goddard and area hospital leaders, along with input from the business and faith communities, and guidelines from state and federal strategies to draft the Road to Recovery order.
Phase I details of this order will be announced Thursday. Officials will host a Facebook Live event Thursday afternoon from 2-2:45 p.m. to answer questions. It will be accessible on the City of Springfield, Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Greene County Facebook pages.
“Reopening must occur with ultimate regard for maintaining life and reducing morbidity while balancing the vital need to restart the economy,” Goddard said. Regional considerations and impacts must be made throughout reopening. If things go well and people maintain social distancing and other required safety precautions, officials are confident they can continue the reopening while preventing an overwhelming outbreak.The Health Department launched an online dashboard that allows the public to view regional data related to COVID-19. As our community moves toward recovery, Goddard says it will be important that we know how the disease is moving through our population. This dashboard will inform community leaders and the public on the important metrics that will inform decision making going forward.
This dashboard covers five areas, including:
It can be accessed at http://health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus and will be updated throughout the week.
“If we continue to see positive trends in the containment of the virus and the continued preparedness of our medical community and public health capability, we will be able to open further in coming weeks,” Goddard said.
Officials are grateful for the coordination of the response efforts and the support and compliance of businesses and residents who took things “very seriously” throughout the course of the Stay-At-Home orders. “It definitely made a difference and without that compliance, we would not be able to reopen things,” McClure said. “This is the Show-Me State and we have showed as a community and a region that we can work together.”
Goddard said the triggers to watch for in planning for reopening steps include:
He is cautiously optimistic.
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For more information, contact Cora Scott, City of Springfield Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement at 417-380-3352; Donna Barton, Greene County Public Information Officer at 417-844-4431; or Kathryn Wall, Springfield-Greene County Health Department Public Health Information Administrator at 417-874-1205.
One person per media outlet will be able to attend minutes early for a health screening, and practice physical distancing while in the briefing.
Media can utilize footage from a pool camera, but will be spaced to maintain physical distancing. Reporters and the public can tune in to the livestream on the City’s and Health Department’s Facebook pages or at https://cityview.springfieldmo.gov/livestream/.
Questions can still be directed via text message to Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 for reporters who will not appear in person.
For more information about COVID-19, visit our website at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus, email [email protected], or call 417-874-1211.