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KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

Criteria To Be Tested For COVID 19 In Greene County Are Changing

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Michele Skalicky
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The requirements for getting a COVID-19 test are being relaxed in Greene County.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, said during a press briefing Tuesday, they’ve been working to expand testing capacity.  Before, a person had to have more than one symptom of COVID-19 to be referred by a healthcare professional for testing.  Now, a person has to have only one symptom.

"Expanding testing capacity in our community will be an important part of our strategy moving foward as we look to what's next," said Goddard.  "We have to be looking at data and science to inform our next steps in containing this disease."

Nearly 2400 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Greene County, according to Goddard.

A strategy for moving away from the stay at home orders will be announced soon, he said.

He’s encouraged that the numbers seem to be moving in the right direction, "but this isn't the time to declare 'mission accomplished,'" he said.  "We have to remain vigilant.  We have to be taking precautions for our health, and we have to stay the course.  We are currently in a phase of this response where we are influencing the virus.  Ignoring the practices that got us to this encouraging moment, only puts us at risk of going right back to where we started."

People need to continue to wash their hands frequently, cough into their elbow and stay home if they’re sick, according to Goddard.

And he said cloth face masks can help, but they must be worn correctly.  He's seen people do things they shouldn't like taking them off and putting them back on, touching them while they're wearing them and using them as an excuse to not stay six feet from other people.  Don't let cloth face coverings give you a false sense of security, he said, and use them only for essential trips. 

The community needs to continue to follow stay at home orders as area leaders from a variety of sectors work on the right approach to move away from those orders, according to Goddard.

There have been 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greene County, and eight people have died from the illness.