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Health Department suspends 'low-risk' COVID-19 disclosures

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The Springfield-Greene County Health Department suspended the disclosure of "low-risk" potential COVID-19 exposure sites.

The decision came amid implementation of the new masking ordinance, which went into effect July 16, and 240 new confirmed cases reported July 9-16, according to a news release. As of this morning, there were 746 confirmed coronavirus cases in Greene County, according to the Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

"The volume and nature of those cases points to significant community spread of illness," officials said in the release. "We have reached a point in this pandemic where any public location should be treated as if it could be a source of exposure."

Health Department spokesperson Kathryn Wall said an example of a high-risk scenario is the Great Clips Inc. case in which two hair stylists worked with COVID-19 symptoms and had 139 clients. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report last week used the Springfield Great Clips incident as evidence that masking can help to stop the spread of the virus; the two stylists wore face masks while working.

The July 17 release from the Health Department further recommended masking, the use of physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and staying at home when sick. Symptoms of the virus include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath and sudden loss of taste or smell.

Springfield City Council last week approved the masking ordinance after four hours of public comment, largely against the ordinance. It remains in effect for 90 days unless amended by council, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

A similar ordinance last week went before the Branson Board of Aldermen, which chose to postpone its vote until July 28 after an eight-hour meeting that also featured myriad opponents of the issue.

Comments

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Ken Hughes

"We have reached a point in this pandemic where any public location should be treated as if it could be a source of exposure."

I think we already figured that one out.

I applaud the Health Department for their efforts. Some people will do what they want no matter what recommendations are made. As for me and my family, we will wear masks in public, until everyone has had the virus, which we all know that everyone will eventually catch it.

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