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Cox and Mercy push for Springfield City Council to pass mask ordinance

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:33 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -

Healthcare officials at both Cox and Mercy wrote letters urging Mayor Ken McClure and Springfield City Council to pass a mask ordinance. They say that the time to do so is now. This comes after city leaders asked for the input of local doctors on potentially requiring people to wear masks in public.

Cox Health CEO and President, Steve Edwards, said he understands the frustration as the virus spikes locally and nationally.

"We thwarted the first wave and now we've let down our guard. We're tired of it and so the first waves now finally coming."

Edwards emphasized the importance of wearing a mask and said especially right now.

“There’s no science that says when it’s too early because there’s really no harm done with wearing a mask but there is science that may say it’s too late,” he said.

Cox health currently has 16 patients hospitalized for the coronavirus. Edwards said more testing is being done but more people are also getting infected. His hospitals are currently seeing 11% of tests come back positive. That compares to 0.5% just over a month ago. In Edwards letter to Springfield’s City Council, he said now is the time to require masks.

Cox’s infectious disease doctor, Robin Trotman, agreed.

“If the masks reduced the disease 50% of the time and it keeps 50% of the people out of the hospital, that’s a win,” Trotman said. “It’s a human behavior. It has no cost. It has no side effects.”

Cox isn’t alone in its efforts to get the ordinance passed. Mercy’s leaders sent a similar one.

Mercy has 17 coronavirus patients in its Springfield hospital right now. That’s the most the hospital has seen so far.

Mercy Springfield’s President, Craig McCoy, said he knows masks can be unpopular but it will keep the community safe.

“You can look at it just like seatbelt laws,” McCoy said. “People don’t always like them. They’re not always comfortable to wear but at the same time, statistics show and studies show time and time again, it can save lives.”

Springfield City Council is expected to vote on this ordinance on Monday.

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