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Springfield plans for stricter rules after first COVID-19 death in Greene County

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The first death in Greene County due to COVID-19 happened today and it is leading to talk of stricter rules for everyone in Springfield.

The patient that died today was a woman in her 80’s.

She was one of the four confirmed cases from the assisted care facility, Morningside of Springfield in East Springfield.

The health department believes this is a community-spread case with no known contact with a previous case or international traveler.

Because every day there is new information about the virus, city and county leaders are talking next steps.

“If anything, for me, it gives further justification for more serious legislative action from our legislative bodies and it shows that both city council and the county commission are on the right path,” said Clay Goddard, director of Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

While St. Louis and Kansas City are currently under ‘shelter in place’ orders, many are questioning why Springfield hasn’t done the same.

Steve Edwards, the CoxHealth president and CEO, is urging the health department and Governor Parson to order a statewide ‘shelter in place.’

Edwards says, while they may be thinking of the economical standpoint of it all, they may not realize the vast impact this virus could take on the community.

“They’re all trying to make important balancing decisions,” Edwards said. “They’re worried about the economy. They’re not as informed as we are and Springfield has been operating very quickly but in a thoughtful manner. We must take advantage of the knowledge we’ve gained with an extra two weeks or we could be northern Italy and we are not going to let that happen.”

Mayor Ken McClure said he expects an update on what those quote “stricter guidelines” are on March 24.

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