City and county officials announced during a news conference Tuesday afternoon that residents of Springfield and Greene County must stay at home.
The ordinance comes after the Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced its 18th case and third death from the coronavirus on Tuesday. The three deaths were all residents of the Morningside of Springfield East assisted living facility, said Health Department Director Clay Goddard.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure announced the ordinance to stay at home as part of his second proclamation of civil emergency during the conference. McClure said the order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and is set to expire in 30 days.
“We are taking aggressive action to flatten the curve and protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters,” McClure said.
Exceptions to the order are essential activities, such as those who work in approved businesses, purchasing food from restaurants or grocery stores, seeking medical care and caring for a loved one, McClure said. According to the order, essential businesses include transportation, auto repair, financial services, maintenance and construction and residential care facilities.
“City and community leaders have wrestled with details on a final order… we feel that despite having to evaluate many factors in the middle of a rapidly evolving situation, we feel we’re making the right decision at the right time,” Goddard said.
A Facebook post shared prior to the news conference showed Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller signing the order. Kansas City and St. Louis officials have already enacted similar orders.
In an interview with SBJ on Tuesday morning, CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards said a stay-at-home mandate would help the local health care systems.
"Forcing this in Missouri and our city and county is the only way I feel like we could be prepared,” Edwards said of a mandate for residents to stay at home. “I am really grateful for city and county leaders. They heard us and I think they're going to take swift action … Our state is one of the few states that has not acted as a state and that's dangerous.
“We've got to be planning for what the world's going to look like in two weeks, not what it looks like today.”
The first COVID-19 death in Greene County was announced yesterday.
As of noon March 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 44,183 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 544 deaths.
Features Editor Christine Temple contributed to this report.
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