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Local health officials say face coverings a must as COVID-19 case counts surge in the Ozarks

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 9:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - In the last two months 1000 people with coronavirus have been admitted to Springfield hospitals according to local health officials.

Once again, those health officials are adamant that masking still helps to slow the spread of the virus.

“It’s not new. In 1918 we had resistance to face coverings. This particular practice really brings out significant emotion in some people,” said Clay Goddard, Director of the Greene County-Springfield Health Department.

President and CEO of Cox Hospital, Steve Edwards said, “We still have some people that just believe it’s a hoax. It’s hard for us to imagine that because our units are really scary places.”

Nearly half a year into the pandemic, local health officials say the numbers are staggering.

“If you become admitted in the hospital with this disease about eleven percent of our patients die. If you’re over the age of 80 that number is probably 40 to 60 percent,” said Edwards.

Officials say wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19 is a must.

“In the lack of a vaccine, when you’re dealing with a novel virus the tools that you have are very limited,” said Goddard.

“We believe masking can reduce the transmission up to 70 percent,” said Edwards.

The medical community says the proof is found in the Great Clips exposure case in Springfield.

“So many people think well we don’t trust data from outside. No. This is data from in our backyard,” said Edwards.

At least 140 people were exposed to the virus back in May and no one got sick. Masking is being credited from stopping a possible outbreak.

The case was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an example of success.

“We’ve seen studies that also say that, per capita, the mortality is four times lower in areas that adopt masking,” said Edwards.

We asked, What’s behind the recent spike in the case count?

Edwards said, “We have about a million people in our service area and about eighteen percent of them are under a masking ordinance. That’s why our hospitals are so full.”

This is why masking should be required according to health officials.

“To be most effective we would want everybody working out of the same playbook obviously,” said Goddard.

“It would be a lot easier on each of those counties if our governor acted. I have deep respect for our governor. I consider him a friend. We disagree on this position and I think it’s costing lives,” said Edwards.

Medical professionals acknowledge that droplets carrying the virus could fit through the holes in masks.

However, they say there are studies that indicate that if you’re exposed while wearing a face covering the infection may not be as severe.

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