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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.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department Urges Thoughtful Planning For The Holidays

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City of Springfield
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As COVID-19 continues spreading in Greene County, the director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said he's cautiously optimistic that a recent slowdown in cases will continue.

Clay Goddard told Springfield City Council Tuesday that the county's seven day rolling average was up one percent compared to the prior seven days, which he called "a very stable percentage."

Still, as of Tuesday morning, there were 165 people hospitalized in Springfield with COVID-19.  Twenty-six of them were in the ICU, and 24 were on ventilators, according to Goddard.  Sixty-four of those in the hospital with the illness were from Greene County.

And Goddard announced two additional deaths from the virus.  Those deaths, Goddard said, are the result of a case surge two or three weeks ago.

"What we do today has a direct impact on others and what happens to them in weeks to come," he said.

The biggest vulnerabilities, he said, are behind closed doors when people gather with family and friends.  

"That seems to be where the biggest case transmission occurs," according to Goddard.

He's concerned as the holidays approach and families plan their celebrations.  Gatherings should look different this year, he said.  People need to be thoughtul about how they celebrate.

"We can't let our guard down," he said.  We're going to have to be vigilent even now."

Cases are up statewide in Missouri, and Goddard said that increase is driven primarily by outstate counties--counties that aren't in metropolitan areas.  But urban areas are contributing to the case count, too.

Councilman Richard Ollis asked Goddard about the current surge of COVID-19 cases in European countries.  Goddard said he has "significant concerns about the second wave in Europe because many of those countries took this more seriously than the U.S." 

Goddard said he doesn't believe Greene County is headed back to stay at home orders, but he said, "we have to be very purposeful about how we spend the next few months."