Live Updates: Coronavirus in the Ozarks

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

Missourians in eligible population categories can sign up for the vaccine now. Find out if you are in an eligible phase or tier by clicking here. Vaccinators in the Ozarks region include some health care facilities and stores.  You can click on the following vaccinators for more information:  CoxHealthJordan Valley Community Health CenterMercyMissouri Vaccine NavigatorSam's ClubWalmart, and Missouri State University's Magers Health and Wellness Center.

If you are sick in the Ozarks region and suspect you may have COVID-19, call your doctor or health care provider first. Use "telemedicine," also known as Virtual Visits, to seek medical treatment so you don't expose others to illness.  Here's a link to CoxHealth Virtual Visits and here's the link to virtual visits through MyMercy.

And you can click here for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department's special page on COVID-19.

For the latest information and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), click here.

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services has set up a coronavirus hotline; residents and medical providers  can call 877-435-8411. And if you'd like to share how the pandemic is affecting you, email us at ksmunews@missouristate.edu. See our ongoing local coverage below.

Missouri is expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults on Friday, April 9. Mercy has now opened appointments online for those who want to get a vaccination. Appointment information at 833-364-6777.

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Ozarks Healthcare says it will host COVID-19 vaccination clinics administering the Moderna vaccine at no cost to participants on Tuesday and Wednesday in West Plains. 

According to a press release, individuals can get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine at no cost on Tuesday, April 13 in Ozarks Healthcare's Willard Hunter Classroom in the Parkway Center.  That vaccine clinic will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Jennifer Moore / KSMU

Rachael Ingram, a cellular and molecular biology major at Missouri State University, fielded questions outside. Members of the Missouri National Guard directed traffic. Lauren Stevens, a nursing student, told attendees to roll up their sleeves as she readied a syringe.

Together, they helped comprise a team that broke a state record for administering the most COVID-19 vaccines in a one-day event, according to a Tweet from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Olgierd (3rd account) / Flickr

Nixa’s emergency mask order will end at 11:59 p.m. on April 30. 

In a news release, Nixa’s mayor, Brian Steele, said, “I am now confident that by April 30, a significant portion of our population will have had an opportunity to be vaccinated, including the most vulnerable members of our community.”  He said he’s pleased to see COVID-19 infection rates in Christian County remain low over the last few weeks.  Steele said the city continues to work with regional health leaders and neighboring communities regarding ongoing pandemic response.

File photo / KSMU

A COVID-19 vaccine event is underway at Hammons Student Center that is now, according to health officials, open to walk-ins.  Thursday’s portion of the “mega vaccine” event opened to walk-ins for individuals in tiers 1 to 2. On Friday, any Missouri resident aged 18 or older can get vaccinated until 5 or until the vaccines run out. 

Governor Mike Parson said in a press conference kicking off the vaccination event that this week in particular will be monumental in the number of vaccines administered because of these mega vaccine events take place statewide. 

KSMU - Ozarks Public Radio

The COVID-19 vaccine "mega-event" taking place on the Missouri State University campus Thursday and Friday is available to walk-in participants. Previously, organizers had planned to require an appointment.

On Wednesday afternoon, David Hall, director of university safety at MSU, told KSMU organizers are trying to make the event as accessible as possible to everyone.

The vaccination event is free and open to Missouri residents ages 18 and older.

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.

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UPDATE:   event organizers announced Wednesday that walk-ins will be accepted at the event. Appointments are encouraged, and will expedite the process, but they are not necessary to receive a vaccine at the event. Read an update here.

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Anyone can now schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine at Mercy without first having to register to determine eligibility.

Mercy’s executive director for pharmacy for Mercy Springfield Communities, David Wolfrath, said in a news release, as the vaccine becomes more plentiful, it’s ready for people to choose their appointment times.  Eligibility opens up to all Missouri residents on Friday, April 9.

CDC

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said Friday they've confirmed a case of COVID-19 associated with a variant of the coronavirus. The health department was notified by the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services that the resident tested positive for the U.K. variant B.1.1.7 of Sars-coV-2.

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The American Health Care Association is reporting a 96% decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes since vaccines became widely available in late December.

COVID cases have plunged from a weekly high of around 34,000 on December 20 to a low of 1,349 cases nationwide the week of March 7. The National Center for Assisted Living, part of the American Health Care Association, also reported weekly deaths from COVID-19 down 91%.

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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is recommending to Springfield City Council that the city move to the Yellow Phase on its Road to Recovery on April 16.

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There’s a new resource for area residents who need help getting a COVID-19 shot.  The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is launching a regional call center with other public health agencies in the area.  Southwest Missouri residents can call (417) 874-1211 to ask questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and get scheduled for an appointment near them.

County health departments that worked with Greene County to create the call center are Christian, Dade, Hickory, Jasper, Lawrence, Polk, Stone and Webster.

CDC

While cases of COVID-19 are way down in Greene County from where they were just a few weeks ago, people are still dying from the illness.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says two deaths were reported to them between March 24 and March 30.  They are a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s.

A total of 424 Greene County residents has died of COVID-19.

View the Greene County COVID-19 Dashboard here.

article.wn.com

 

Ozarks Technical Community College distributed over $3 million to students in March as part of a federal relief grant aimed at financial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every current student at OTC is getting at least $400, and those who qualify for a Pell Grant are getting $465. The $3.4 million comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II, part of an act of Congress providing stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a press release from OTC, the first relief fund gave OTC $3.9 million to give as a grant to students.

National Institutes of Health

 

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Missouri State University will hold a mass vaccination event on April 8 and 9 at Hammons Student Center. The health department says it hopes it will be the largest single-site vaccination event in Missouri.

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