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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department, City of Springfield and Greene County Commission support Gov. Mike Parson’s recommendation to follow revised Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for large events and mass gatherings. The guidance recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more, with the exception of educational institutions, daycare facilities, and business operations. The full recommendation is described below. Both the City Council and Greene County Commission will meet separately to discuss this in the coming days.
“We understand that this may cause us to suspend the beloved traditions we have come to know and treasure. The celebrations. The long-awaited family gatherings. The big playoff games. Because those things that define us as a community are also unfortunately, a means to make us sick,” said Mayor Ken McClure.
“But the more we can do to limit the virus spread, the better it’s going to be for everyone,” explains Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon. “If we don’t, the heaviest burden will be with our first responders. The emergency service providers, hospitals and medical staff - the very people we will depend on to heal and care for our sick friends and family.”
CDC Guidance as of 3/15/2020
Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.
This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.
Guidance on considerations for COVID-19, as well as recommendations on cleaning and other health practices if events do go forward are available on our website at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus.
It is again important to note that the Health Department is urging high risk groups—including those 60 and older, who have a chronic illness or who are immune-compromised—to take extra precautions. These include:
• Stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel
· Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people.
· Consider alternative ways of getting food and supplies brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks or by using delivery or pick up services at stores.
• Have a plan if you get sick (fever, shortness of breath, cough):
· Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your personal health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
· Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
· Determine who can provide you with care and bring supplies if your caregiver gets sick.
• Have supplies on hand
· Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
· If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
· Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms.
· Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
• Take everyday precautions
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick
· Clean your hands often
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
· If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
· To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
· Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
· Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
· Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
· Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
· Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
• If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs include:
· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
· New confusion or inability to arouse
· Bluish lips or face
For more information, visit our website at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus, email email@example.com, or call 417-874-1211.
For media requests, contact Kathryn Wall, Public Health Information Administrator, Springfield-Greene County Health Department by phone at 417-874-1205 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement for the City of Springfield by phone at 417-380-3352, or email at email@example.com, or Donna Barton, Public Information Officer for Greene County by phone at 417-844-4311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.