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:

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.

CoxHealth is offering free virtual visits to people with symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those patients should use the code COVID when beginning a virtual visit with CoxHealth at the link above. Or they can call 417-269-TMED (8633).

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 needing advice on the virus can call 877-435-8411 at any time on any day.

Click here for updates on area nonprofits and local government.

And if you would like to share how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting you, email us at See our ongoing local coverage below.

Pixabay / Used with permission

Greene County health officials on Friday said two recent inviduals who tested positive for COVID-19 visited public places, potentially exposing others to the novel coronavirus that causes the disease.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department director Clay Goddard said while the risk to individuals who were at these locations remains low, they should monitor their health for symptoms:

Watch the latest press briefing from the White House Coronavirus Task Force for April 3, 2020.

Community Foundation of the Ozarks / Used with permission

In its first round of grants to nonprofit agencies affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded nearly $100,000 on Friday.

The grants are targeted toward agencies serving the region’s most vulnerable citizens throughout the CFO’s 58-county service region, according to a news release from CFO. 

Since public gatherings of 10 or more people are banned in Missouri, many nonprofits have had to cancel fundraisers—while at the same time increasing their services to those in need.

Afton Harper / KSMU

Many people are out of work right now as schools and businesses are shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that means many service animals are unable to work, too.

Around three weeks ago, my dog guide, Payton, and I traveled home to Kansas City for spring break. Since the pandemic, we haven’t left the house other than for walks around the block because of a shelter-in-place order.

(Logo courtesy Queen City Shout)

Eddie Gumucio, local musician and educator, and host of KSMU’s Wednesday night program “Beneath the Surface,” organizes a live music festival in Springfield every August, called “Queen City Shout.” It features area musicians, and raises money for local non-profits. During the current Stay-At-Home Coronavirus order, nobody is able to perform live, or go out to live venues to hear music. One of Eddie Gumucio’s friends shared a Facebook link with him that gave him an idea.                                                                                          

Reeds Spring School District

Schools across the Ozarks are still trying to figure out what the rest of the school year will look like.  Some are using online learning.  Others are just trying to meet the immediate needs of students and families.

The Reeds Spring School District falls into that last category.

Dr. Cody Hirschi is superintendent of Reeds Spring Schools.  Right now they’re just taking things one week at a time, he said.

Westsubindy / Flickr, Used with permission

In this episode of These Ozarks Hills, longtime storyteller Marideth Sisco encourages those who are alone right now to think of solitude, rather than isolation. Hear the audio from the segment below:

Pixabay, used with permission

Some cities in the Ozarks are facing sewage backups because residents are flushing non-toilet paper products down the toilet. This comes as more people are staying home—and many are also cleaning with sanitizing wipes and paper towels. 

The cities of West Plains and Mountain Grove are reporting more non-toilet paper products in their sewer systems.


Michele Skalicky

You won’t be able to float, hike, camp or take part in any other recreational activities at the Buffalo National River in Arkansas in the near future.   The park is now closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  That closure includes the river, trails, open spaces and campgrounds. 

Buffalo National River spokesperson, Cassie Branstetter, said it was a decision that wasn’t made lightly.

Victory Mission Logo / Used with permission

  What do you do during a stay-at-home order if you don't have a home to go to?  In Springfield, Victory Mission offers emergency shelter for homeless men. And as the coronavirus transforms life in Greene County, it and other shelters are getting creative as they try to stay open and safe. This is the story of one local homeless man navigating that process.


For Eric West, things were finally starting to look up a few weeks ago.  He had a new job as a cook at a Springfield hotel and he was even able to put some money away for savings, he said.


Ozarks Public Television

With so many children out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ozarks Public Television has begun broadcasting a new, over-the-air educational channel so that high-quality learning can continue at home. The free programming will serve viewers across the Ozarks region, including the many families who do not have internet access or computers at home.


OPT's WORLD Channel is for students in grades 6-12, and it is now airing from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. locally on weekdays.


Carl Long

Springfield-based humanitarian relief organization Convoy of Hope is known for its large-scale operations.  For example, it sent out 60 tractor trailers of mostly food and paper products across the United States last week alone in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But the charity is also remembering rural towns closer to home, too.

Carl Long is a pastor and the mayor of Humansville, Missouri, in Polk County.

Andy Goessmann / Facebook

An Ozark man, laid off from his job in the restaurant industry due to the coronavirus, has changed his focus from working to bringing joy to essential personnel in these trying times. 

Andy Goessmann and his wife, Taylor, started the fundraiser around the time the stay at home orders were being put into place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.  It's called "Thank You, Springfield Front Line!  Lunch on Us!"


State parks in Missouri will be closed as of 5 p.m. Thursday, April 2, to address overcrowding as the coronavirus continues to spread in the state.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources plans to close Castlewood, Elephant Rocks, Watkins Woolen Mill and Weston Bend State Parks.  St. Joe State Park will close the off-road vehicle riding area.

The closures will last until April 30.

Missouri DNR director, Carol Comer, said, as conditions and recommendations change, they’ll make additional closures as needed. 

Springfield-Greene County Health Department

It's been nearly three weeks since Greene County, Missouri reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case.  As of Tuesday, health officials have confirmed 50 positive cases in the county.


Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard told Springfield City Council Tuesday in analyzing the county's cases on a time series graph—graphing the positive cases based on the date of the onset of symptoms—he can see that the increase in daily confirmed cases remains a relatively straight line.