Greene County Health director says no need to panic

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Earlier today, March 12, the Health Department insisted there’s no need to panic.

Greene County Health director Clay Goddard says a health official’s responsibility is to warn the public about any threats.

The health department’s job is to stop the spread.

“We’re not advising panic, and that’s important,” Goddard said. “We have to make calm, intelligent, thoughtful decisions.”

Goddard says social distancing is one example.

“Social distancing is one of those tools and it’s one of the strongest tools in our tool belt,” Goddard said.

There are also many familiar prevention methods.

“I know that you’re tired of me talking about handwashing, about handshakes, about not going to work when you’re sick,” Goddard said.

These are things you can do immediately.

“Take those actions around things that you can control,” Goddard said. “You cannot control when a virus enters our community, but you can control helping to bend that curve.”

Bending the curve means staying prepared.

“There was a Doctor in Muan that said they were having to decide who lived and who died because their health care system was overwhelmed,” Goddard said. “We don’t want to be there.”

Not getting to that point involves knowing which people fall into COVID-19’s high-risk group.

“Sixty and over and with chronic health conditions,” Goddard said.

Among the events that haven’t been canceled yet, Goddard says the elderly shouldn’t take a chance.

“If you have options around not going to those events or using a Grocery delivery service, that might be a good idea,” Goddard said.

He believes businesses who haven’t suspended their events are taking a big risk.

“Those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat history,” Goddard said. “They contrast St. Louis with Philadelphia. St. Louis took aggressive action, they had half the mortality that Philadelphia did.”

Goddard is asking people to stay calm.

“If I’m not panicked as a health director, you shouldn’t be panicked as a healthy citizen,” Goddard said.

The latest information on COVID-19 is available at or by email, and by phone at 417-874-1211.

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