Health director says residents need to take COVID-19 ‘head-on as a region’

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield-Greene County Health Department (SGCHD) and Springfield Public Schools health officials hosted a news conference Monday, Sept. 28, after three more COVID-19 related deaths in Greene County were announced.

Health director Clay Goddard is still stressing the importance of testing, mitigation and containment.

“In Greene County alone, our deaths have more than doubled,” said Goddard.

Goddard says COVID-19 can change your life at any time.

“I’ve compared it to when a tornado goes to a neighborhood,” said Goddard. “You always have that one house that hasn’t been touched. But you have another house that’s off of its foundation.”

Now that we’re heading into another allergy season, Goddard says it may be hard to tell the difference between an allergy and COVID-19 symptoms.

“If you don’t normally have a cough, for example, when your allergies are bugging you, you need to take that seriously,” said Goddard.

Springfield Public Schools Jean Grabeel says the district has had 183 cases so far.

“This represents 53 staff and 85 students,” said Grabeel.

Grabeel says the district’s contact tracing protocols are being closely followed.

“Specific guidance is provided to anyone who must quarantine, including what quarantine means and the length of time that it is required,” said Grabeel.

Goddard says there are mental health services around town to help you through a quarantine.

“And it’s okay not to be okay,” said Goddard.

Both Goddard and Grabeel say everyone can come together to defeat the virus.

“The key takeaways for this are, masking, physical distancing, and immediate quarantining of direct contacts,” said Grabeel.

“We shouldn’t wish 2020 away, we need to take action now and take this head-on as a region,” said Goddard.

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