VIRTUAL TOWN HALL: Local officials, health experts answer questions about coronavirus containment

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Questions answered tonight in a virtual town hall broadcast on all KY3's and KOLR 10's TV channels and online platforms Tuesday.

We partnered to cover the response to the coronavirus pandemic from a local perspective with local leaders and health experts.

One of the most common questions being asked by many in Springfield and the surrounding areas is, "How long will this pandemic last?" Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard said, "The virus will determine the timeline."

That is just one of many real concerns from viewers, which brought real answers from those working to control and contain the spread of the virus.

City and county leaders, medical professionals and economic experts answered dozens of questions from viewers concerned about the coronavirus and the steps being taken to control its spread.

Last week, non-essential businesses were ordered to close their doors. With so many businesses now shut down, unemployment claims are skyrocketing, but many are having trouble filing for jobless benefits. Sally Payne, Interim Director of Springfield's Workforce Development, said there's a reason for that.

"Right now, Missouri has seen an increase in unemployment claims by 900%," Payne said. "They're asking for everybody to remain patient and diligent. They will get to you."

Cities and counties across the Ozarks are issuing stay-at-home orders. Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said Greene County tried gathering limits first.

"It was ineffective in getting the attention of our citizens and underscoring the severity of the situation," Dixon said. "When we went to the stay-at-home order, it had the effect we intended, which was to get the attention of the people that we care so deeply about."

Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard said a state-wide order would be more effective, which is something Governor Parson has yet to issue.

"Half to two thirds of the patients that come into Cox and Mercy are from outside of Greene County," Goddard said. "So unless you have 100% coverage on a stay at home order, you really are not achieving what you set out to do through the social distancing mitigation efforts."

Those were just a few of the many topics covered in Tuesday's town hall. We still have that whole meeting pinned to the top of the KY3 Facebook page so you can go back and watch the entire thing.