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 ksmunews@missouristate.edu. See our ongoing local coverage below.

Dickerson Park Zoo

Dickerson Park Zoo has shared more information about its reopening plan.  The zoo will open to Friends of the Zoo members only May 26 through 28.  It will open to the general public on May 29.

The giraffe deck, petting zoo, café, gift shop and train will be open with modified occupancy.  The Diversity of Life, siamang, colobus monkey and giraffe buildings will remain closed.

The playground will be open, but it will not be disinfected regularly.  Guests are encouraged to wash hands before and after playing. 

Springfield-Greene County Park Board

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board will reopen the indoor pools at Chesterfield and Doling Family Centers Saturday.  They’ve been closed for nine weeks because of the coronavirus.

Hours will be 8 a.m. to noon Saturday for adult swim only and open swim will be from noon to 3:30.  Sunday hours will be noon to 2:30 for open swim.  Monday through Friday an adult only swim will be held from 7:15 to 11 a.m., and open swim will be from 1 to 5.  The Park Board says hours will expand as more lifeguards are certified and hired.

WOW

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium will reopen this Saturday, May 23, after being closed for more than two months due to the coronavirus.

KSMU Ozarks Public Radio

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — St. Louis-area kids and families bored at home during the coronavirus shutdown will start to see new options open up next month, when the St. Louis Zoo, summer camps and swimming pools all are expected to reopen.

Missouri Execution Would Be First Since Pandemic Began

May 19, 2020
KSMUOzarks Public Radio

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic put a pause on U.S. executions, but that is likely to change as Missouri prepares to execute an inmate for the slaying of an elderly woman nearly three decades ago.

Walter Barton would be the first person executed in the U.S. since Nathaniel Woods was put to death in Alabama on March 5. Soon thereafter, efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus shut down the U.S. economy and led to strict limits on social distancing, including inside prisons.

At least three states have put executions on hold in the intervening 2½ months.

City of Springfield

Six of the eight latest cases of COVID-19 in Greene County are travel-related, according to the director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.  During a press briefing Tuesday, Clay Goddard said they traveled domestically by driving.  

The cases are still being investigated.  The health department is still working to find an epidemiological link to one of the cases, he said, and another case is a close contact of a known case from another local county.

Busiek State Forest
Scott Harvey / KSMU

This week, Missouri State Parks began its “phased reopening” of campgrounds and beaches. 

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, state park campground reservations opened May 18 for camping that can begin May 26. State park beaches will open May 21. 

 

Michele Skalicky

Update:  Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, Clay Goddard, said Tuesday there have been eight new cases in the county since Friday.

There are now 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greene County, and 16 of those are active.  That’s according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s assistant director Katie Towns.  She told Springfield City Council Monday night that there had been six new cases in the county since Friday.

Springfield's History Museum on the Square will reopen to the public with limited hours and days starting Thursday, May 28.

The museum will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoons from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The museum says it will limit capacity to 25 guests at a time.

It’s also planning to deep clean each morning and throughout the day.

All museum staff will wear face masks, and guests will be asked to wear masks and use hand sanitizer.

Chloe O'Neill

Springfield City Council is expected to vote soon on a document that outlines what the next few weeks will look like as restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in place and start to ease up.

xelipe / Flickr

Anyone who receives aid from the Missouri Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP can now purchase food online—but only from certain retailers.

According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services has currently approved two retailers, Amazon and Walmart, for online purchasing.  But DSS says more grocery retailers could be added.

In a news release, DSS says this is a permanent option for SNAP recipients.  The benefits don’t cover delivery fees or other charges. 

Michele Skalicky

A Greene County resident who was diagnosed with COVID-19 this week may have exposed other people to the illness.

free pictures of money / Flickr

An emergency grant of $1.3 million is going to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.  The Missouri Governor’s Office says the funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Labor for COVID-19 disaster recovery.

Chloe O'Neill

The latest numbers show 104 cases of COVID-19 in Greene County.  Numbers had stayed fairly steady until a handful of new cases was announced Friday, and one more was confirmed Wednesday morning.

The head of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department told Springfield City Council this week he’s hopeful numbers will stay low.  But Clay Goddard reminds county residents that COVID-19 isn’t gone from the community, and he said it’s not going away anytime soon.

Springfield-Greene County Library / Facebook

Most branches of the Springfield-Greene County Library District will reopen on Tuesday, May 26.  They’ve been closed since March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The only branches that will stay closed are Park Central and Fair Grove, which will offer curbside service.

Hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday through August 31.  Drive-up service will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and book return boxes will be open 24 hours a day.

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