Springfield-Greene Co. Health Dept. warns of concerning new COVID-19 trends

Six more COVID-related deaths reported on second day of October
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 9:48 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Local health officials are concerned that the region may not be moving forward as much as it should be, following 10 more new coronavirus deaths just two days into the new month.

Just two days into October, the Springfield-Greene County Health department announced an additional six COVID-19 deaths Friday. This brings the Greene County’s total to 87 since the pandemic began.

Director of Health Clay Goddard said earlier in the week that the region may need to consider additional action so the area does not move backwards.

“I’m a big believer that we shouldn’t be wishing 2020 away, that we need to take action now, and take this head-on as a region," Goddard said at a news conference earlier this week.

He said some concerning new trends may require some more personal responsibility and policy changes, including business occupancy limits and physical distancing rules.

“Our hospitals are nearing capacity and we’re rapidly approaching flu season," Goddard said. "We’re in an unsustainable situation. And we as individuals, as organizations and as communities have to start acting like we’re in the middle of a pandemic again.”

The county reported 47 deaths, more than half of its total count, in September.

According to the health department, the average age of those who have died from COVID-19 decreased throughout September. The average age decreased from 80.3 in the first half of the month (Sept. 1-16) to 77.7 in the last half (Sept. 17-30).

Springfield-Greene County Health Department spokesperson Kathryn Wall said part of the issues involves masking.

“People don’t tend to wear masks around people they know and trust,” she said. “Masking isn’t a trust issue. It’s not something we want people to think it’s about who your around.”

Wall said that often involves close friends or family members who live outside of the home.

Instead, Wall said it’s an issue of who you or others could have exposed. She said, many times, people often forget they may not show symptoms right away, possibly exposing others without ever knowing.

“One of the misconceptions that I hear about is that, ‘well I don’t feel sick today, so I must not have COVID so I’m fine,’” she said. “One of the trickiest things about this illness is that you are actually infected up to two days before you ever feel symptoms. So you could unknowingly be passing this on to your loved ones, your coworkers and your friends without ever knowing your sick. And then develop symptoms two days later.”

Goddard said local leaders may need to take further action in some cases.

“I would like to challenge local leaders who are not using mitigation strategies to take another look at their data," he said. "Is this what we want to continue to live with in Southwest Missouri?”

The health department along with local hospitals shared recommendations and data with the city. City leaders will take up the issue and any next steps on Monday.

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