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Springfield city leaders approve next phase in COVID-19 recovery

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:37 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:03 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - At its April 5 meeting, Springfield City Council voted to remove COVID-19 occupancy restrictions, allow buffet dining and special events under 500 people, moving the community into the “yellow” phase of the Road To Recovery Plan, effective April 16.

Masking in public spaces will be required. The thresholds required to enter the yellow phase include hitting two of the following three metrics and making significant progress on the third: 1) less than 40 new cases of COVID-19 per day (on a 7-day rolling average); 2) under 50 individuals hospitalized in COVID-19 isolation and 3) 25% of the population 16 and older fully vaccinated.

Council heard from Acting Director of Health Katie Towns on the progress of Springfield’s Road to Recovery from COVID-19 at a specially called meeting April 1.

“Although we’ve made progress on many fronts, the number of people getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has been slower than we anticipated,” Towns said at the meeting. She noted that Springfield-Greene County has met the 28-day threshold requirements for the seven-day rolling averages for new cases and hospitalizations, but stronger progress needed to be made toward the vaccination rate before advancing to the yellow phase.

As of Monday, the vaccination rate was 19.25%, the COVID-19 news case count was 18.3 on a rolling 7-day average, and hospitalizations were 25.

“Our return to normalcy is incumbent upon individuals receiving vaccine,” Towns said. “All Missourians will be eligible to receive vaccine April 9. I’m very pleased that we have a tremendous opportunity with the mega vaccine event April 8 and 9 at Hammons Student Center on the Missouri State University campus. We hope to vaccinate 10,000 people during this two-day event.”

Towns added the vaccine that will be administered at the event will be the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, which means that anyone who receives vaccine at the event will be fully vaccinated.

Appointments are required. Visit vaccine417.com for more information and to register.

A mobile COVID-19 vaccination unit called Greene County CARES will begin bringing the vaccine to harder-to-reach populations as additional vaccine becomes available.

The unit is a partnership of Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Greene County Medical Society, City of Springfield, and the United Way of the Ozarks’ Give 5 program. Former mayor Bob Stephens has been tapped to coordinate the logistics of the unit.

The partner organizations are working together to fill in the gaps where vaccinations are needed, but barriers such as transportation, language barriers, Internet access and institutional mistrust may exist.

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