KOLR 10 Investigates: How much are Springfield residents really staying home?

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A KOLR 10 Investigation compares how much people in Greene County are traveling now, compared to before a stay-at -home order was issued.

On Thursday, Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Clay Goddard said he was dumbfounded at the number of coronavirus-infected people who traveled after March 16, when the city issued a civil emergency. It’s 18 people. He went on to say that 81% of people infected with COVID-19 in Greene County either traveled, or had contact with a traveler.

Unacast is a company that tracks cell phone locations to compile data. As of Friday, April 10, only two states – Nevada and Vermont – get an A grade for social distancing. That’s based on a decrease in average mobility and non-essential travel. According to Unacast’s social distancing tracker, Missouri and Greene County both get a C as of the 10th.

“It’s a short-term pain for a long-term gain,” Mary Lilly Smith, the Planning & Development director for the City of Springfield told KOLR 10 in an interview this week.

The city is hoping its stay at home order, which has now been in effect for two full weeks, will convince people to do just that – stay at home. KOLR 10 Morning Anchor Lauren Barnas caught up with a few people at Phelps Grove Park getting exercise, which is considered essential.

“It’s my first day out now in more than a week,” Terresa Crocker said.

In a press briefing on Thursday, April 9, Goddard said traffic patterns in Springfield rose the day before. But for the most part, the order seems to be working.

KOLR 10 found Juli Panza and Ryan DeBoef in their new workplace, right next to their son’s new school space, on the front porch.

“This is my third week,” Panza said.

DeBoef has also been working from home since then.

“Three weeks as well,” DeBoef said. “I’ve been working from a card table set up in our master bedroom.”

In the days leading up to the order, Greene County got a D, D-, and then an F” for social distancing, according to Unacast.

Thomas wells was also in the park this week.

“It’s real important to me, and I think it should be real important to everybody,” Wells said.

In the days after that order took effect on march 26, Greene County got an average B grade, as non-essential travel dropped by more than 70%. Travel overall, including people trying to still go to work, dropped over 45%, according to the city.

“We are trying to go to the store once a week, just one store,” Panza said.

DeBoef explains why his family is following orders so strictly, “I’m not in a high risk category for this disease, but I know other people are.”

Take for instance, Wells, enjoying sunshine at the park their porch overlooks.

“Actually I’m immune compromised,” Wells said. “It’s been a year for me, I’ve been doing this for a year now. I can’t associate with people without a mask on.”

It serves as a good reminder for us all, that you never quite know who you’re sharing air with.

Data from Unacast takes a few days to catch up, so this is not fully accounting for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s statewide stay-at-home order which went into effect Monday.

Arkansas is getting a C- right now. It’s one of less than 10 remaining states without a broad stay-at-home order. Gov. Asa Hutchinson claims he’s holding out to save jobs.

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