KSMU Coronavirus Coverage

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City officials in Springfield and local health professionals continue to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The number of people seeking the vaccine has dropped by 43 percent since April 9, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department at a press briefing Tuesday.  As of Tuesday morning, 33 percent of Greene County residents 16 and older had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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A steady supply of the Pfizer vaccine is allowing Mercy to offer walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the health system.  The vaccines are available at 4520 S. National Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  You can also make an appointment by going to mercy.net/MOVaccine.

Vaccines are also available through Mercy at various sites around the Ozarks.

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Springfield City Council voted unanimously Monday night to amend city ordinance to remove requirements to wear face masks outdoors except for gatherings of more than 500 where people are less than six feet from one another. 

The decision comes after the CDC last week announced new guidelines that said it’s safe to unmask outdoors if you’re vaccinated.  The agency also declared it was safe for unvaccinated people to participate in outdoor, unmasked activities with members of one’s household or other fully vaccinated people. 

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The announcement of the two new deaths from COVID-19 in Greene County comes after last week’s report from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department had no fatalities from the illness.

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CoxHealth plans to close its COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics soon and move vaccines into doctors’ offices.  CoxHealth president and CEO Steve Edwards said Friday they would stop holding the clinics in a couple of weeks.

Edwards said the healthcare system has administered 88,000 doses, but they’re seeing demand for the vaccine go down.

According to Edwards, they’re moving the vaccine into doctors’ offices for patient convenience, and they hope that will result in more people getting the shot.

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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is reminding residents that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. 

Michele Skalicky

CoxHealth officials are urging people to continue to get tested for COVID-19 and to seek medical care immediately if they suspect they have the illness.

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COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be held at two Springfield-Greene County Library branches.

The clinics are set for May 1st from 9 a.m. to noon at the Library Center and from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Library Station and are for all Missourians 16 and older.  The Pfizer vaccine will be available, and participants can get their first or second doses.

Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is strongly encouraged.  To register, go to covidvaccine.mo.gov/navigator or call 417-874-1211.

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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department, which reports weekly death counts from COVID-19, had some encouraging data to share Wednesday:  last week’s death count from the disease was zero. That reporting period ran from April 14 to April 20.

This is only the second time in 39 weeks that Greene County has had no new COVID-19 deaths to report. The first time was in late March.

Michele Skalicky

Another Ozarks city is ending its mask ordinance that was put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The City of Ozark’s mandate will end at 11:59 Thursday night, April 22.  According to a press release, the decision to end the mask requirement was made due to declining cases, vaccination efforts and “the wishes of Ozark’s residents.”

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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Coronavirus vaccine supply is starting to outpace demand in Missouri, even after the state expanded eligibility, raising worries among some health care providers. Early on, mass vaccination clinics in rural areas sometimes had excess doses, but demand had remained strong in more populous areas until recently. The slowdown is occurring even though the state deemed anyone old enough to get the shot eligible last week and most residents remain unvaccinated. State data shows that just 32.8% of residents have received at least one dose as of Wednesday.

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As of 11:59 Friday night, April 16, most occupancy restrictions will be lifted in Springfield.  The city is moving from the red phase to the yellow phase on the Road to Recovery

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This week’s report of COVID-19 deaths in Greene County, Missouri includes one person, a man in his 70s.  He had underlying health conditions that put him at increased risk for severe illness.  He was not in a long-term care facility.  That brings the total number of Greene County residents who have died of COVID-19 to 427.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, that is the first COVID-19 death that has occurred in the county in April.

Michele Skalicky

The City of Branson will no longer require masks in public spaces as of this Friday.  In March, the Board of Aldermen voted to end the mask mandate on May 24th.  But yesterday, the board voted in favor of an ordinance sponsored by Branson’s newly elected mayor, Larry Milton, to end the requirement earlier.

According to a news release, Milton sponsored the bill because of the declining cases of COVID-19 in Missouri and because 23.3 percent of Stone County residents and 19.7 percent of Taney County residents have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department
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After the announcement that Missouri has paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the Springfield-Greene County Health department is urging people to sign up for the other vaccines.  

After six women in the United States developed serious blood clots following a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said it will instead promote the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for the time being. 

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