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Springfield-Greene County Health Department director gives COVID-19 update during City Council lunch

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On Tuesday, May 12, Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director, Clay Goddard gave a COVID-19 update during Springfield’s City Council lunch.

According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s website there have been 103 total COVID-19 cases with only 14 active, 81 recovered, eight deaths and 23 hospitalizations.

Goddard said there have been no new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and so far this week.

“We’re hopeful this positive trend continues,” Goddard said. “But we need to be mindful and remind people that COVID-19 has not gone from our community, it has not gone from our state, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.”

Even with COVID-19 cases trending downwards, Goddard says we still need stay vigilant.

“I continue to be asked when we can return to normal,” Goddard said. “We’re going to need to continue to pursue a new normal for a time as we maintain our vigilance against this disease. We need to continue to physically distance when possible and stay home when we’re sick, wash our hands and use hand sanitizer.”

Goddard also provided more good news about testing. So far, 200 tests have been conducted on essential workers who don’t have symptoms. 150 of those tests have come back negative with the other 50 pending.

Hospital partners are also testing people who receive elective surgeries which Goddard said will give them further data and more insight.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has been able to enhance its existing lab equipment and is now able to do in-house COVID-19 testing. Goddard said they have started using it as an epidemiological tool starting Tuesday, May 12. This new equipment allows them to test close contacts of confirmed cases whether they’re showing symptoms or not.

“This is an investigative tool to further understand COVID-19 in our community and will help us effectively break the chain of infection when we find positive cases,” Goddard said.

Though Goddard said he wanted to be clear they’re not offering tests for the general public. If you have one symptom call your doctor, and if you have barriers to testing call the Springfield-Greene County Health Department number at 417-874-1211.

“We know that barriers exist,” Goddard said “Around the country we’re seeing that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting people of color or marginalized groups. We know these groups have suffered a history of lack of access and perhaps do not trust our healthcare system. We know there has been a long history of societal and economic barriers to many groups represented in our community. We don’t want anyone to feel like testing is not open to them.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is working with the NAACP, Prosper Springfield and CPO’s Caring Community to ensure access to testing. Goddard said of the 39 tests those groups have done, 32 have come back negative for COVID-19 so far.

Goddard said he is working with the Hispanic community, the homeless population and others to help connect them to testing.

“We don’t want anyone who’s experiencing symptoms to not be able to get testing,” Goddard said. “We don’t want anyone to dismiss symptoms as just a summer cold. Testing is our only window currently into this illness and our continued recovery efforts are hinged on further testing.”

Goddard also mentioned they will soon share guidance with city leaders on the next phase of recovery and have that conversation as early as Friday, May 15.

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