Officials from local government and health care organizations on Friday renewed a call for Gov. Mike Parson to institute a statewide face mask mandate as hospitals' COVID-19 units see peak levels of patients.
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said City Council is unanimous in its support for such an order. He spoke at a livestreamed news conference, where officials said a statewide mandate also is favored by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Greene County, CoxHealth, Mercy Springfield Communities and the Missouri Foundation for Health.
McClure commended Parson for recently issuing a statewide public health warning – with safety recommendations – and extending Missouri’s state of emergency. However, he said stricter action is needed.
"Guidelines are fine, but unfortunately many do not follow guidelines. When that happens, the result is we're all hurt,” McClure said. “This is a critical time for our state.”
Dr. Shawn Usery, chief medical officer for CoxHealth, cited an “extreme increase” in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the communities it serves. He said hospitalizations for COVID-19 had risen to 160 by Friday from 130 on Nov. 16 and around 115 the week prior.
“We are at a crisis point,” he said.
Wanda Brown, a registered nurse at Mercy, said the Springfield’s hospital’s four COVID-19 units “are continually full and are becoming overwhelmed.” Mercy spokesperson Sonya Kullmann said the Springfield hospital this morning had 100 COVID-19 patients.
Council in October extended the city's mask mandate until Jan. 9, 2021.
The Health Department's COVID-19 dashboard shows 13,943 confirmed cases in the county to date. There currently are 211 hospitalized in Greene County hospitals, with 47 in intensive care.
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