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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.

Greene County Health Officials Keep An Eye On COVID-19 Spikes In Nearby Areas

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Springfield-Greene County Health Department
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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is closely watching a spike in COVID-19 cases in parts of northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri, according to its director, Clay Goddard.

He told Springfield City Council Monday night he believes the cases are largely tied to poultry processing plants.  The Jasper County Health Department Monday announced 39 new cases and said they’re actively monitoring 349 contacts of those cases.

Goddard worries those cases could impact Greene County since many local COVID-19 cases are travel related.

"These hot spots are within an hours striking distance of Springfield, and that makes travel concern all the more pressing," he said.  "Additionally, we worry about healthcare capacity.  If neighboring healthcare systems become overwhelmed, patients are likely to spill over into our systems by default, and, currently, our healthcare and public health and testing capability scores on the Recovery Dashboard remain strong, but we continue to watch those closely."

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has offered help to Jasper, Newton and McDonald Counties, including testing and contact tracing assistance, Goddard said.

There’s been a shift in the COVID-19 epicenter in Missouri from metro areas to outstate areas, according to Goddard.  He calls it “a disturbing trend.”