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Springfield's 40th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Canceled Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Springfield St. Patrick's Day Parade

Springfield's St. Patrick's Day Parade has been cancelled due to concerns over the potential spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, organizers said Tuesday afternoon.

The iconic parade was set to celebrate its 40th year on Saturday, March 14.  The Irish Pet Contest is also canceled.

In a release, parade organizers said "concerns over the coronavirus" informed their decision.

A day earlier, Springfield-Greene County Health Department officals advised adults ages 60 and older to stay home as much as possible and to avoid crowds.  Those guidelines also apply to people with diabetes, cancer, or heart and lung disease, officials said.

So far, there have been no discovered cases of COVID-19 in Greene County.  A woman in St. Louis County has tested positive for the coronavirus and is in quarantine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some communities may need to "modify, postpone, or cancel large events" and mass gatherings for the safety and well-being of others as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Historians point to the 1918 flu epidemic, which hit Philadelphia particularly hard after a massive WWI parade spread the influenza and caused more than 4,500 deaths in the days following the parade, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

The cities of Boston and Dublin have also canceled their iconic St. Patrick's Day parades this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.