Keeping An Eye On Data, Greene County Health Officials Turn Attention To Vaccination Rates

Apr 6, 2021

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure speaking at the health event April 6.
Credit Josh Conaway / KSMU News

Health officials in Greene County are keeping a close eye on data as they determine how and when to best ease COVID-19 restrictions.  One key factor in the county’s fight is the percentage of people vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Springfield City Council voted to move COVID restrictions from the “Red phase” to the “Yellow phase” on April 16, which will remove occupancy limits and allow buffet dining and special events with fewer than 500 people.

Katie Towns, acting director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said Tuesday Springfield is basing those decisions on three important thresholds. Those thresholds are COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations, and the percentage of the population who are vaccinated against the virus.

But while the first two criteria have been met, Towns said the percent of the population vaccinated in Greene County is 19.8%--and that’s short of the 25% the department is recommending before moving Springfield to the “Yellow Phase.”

Mayor Ken McClure said at a press conference Tuesday he’s confident the number of vaccinated residents will meet the goal.

“We’re almost there," McClure said. "We’re confident that we will achieve the 25% before the April 16 deadline, when our new ordinance takes effect.” 

The health department is encouraging people to sign up for a mega vaccine event this Thursday and Friday at the Hammons Student Center on the campus of Missouri State University. The university has said it hopes to vaccinate 10,000 people with a one-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine.