After hearing an update from Joplin Public Health Department, Joplin City Council voted unanimously to remain is Step 2 of Phase 2 in the City’s Recovery and Response Plan. Assistant Director of Health Department Ryan Talken provided recent numbers of coronavirus cases in Joplin stating that they’ve doubled in just two weeks. He also discussed the steady increase that Jasper County Health Department is experiencing, as well as neighboring Newton and McDonald Counties.
“We are seeing a spike right now,” he said. “It’s important that we stay the course to help lessen the spread of the virus. With these numbers rising, we need to get back to the basics of washing our hands, disinfecting common items shared by others at home or in the office, and of course to keep social distancing. Staying in this step sends the right message. By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of everybody else.”
Council approved moving to Step 2 of the second phase of the Recovery Plan at their June 1 meeting, noting that they will review this status on June 15, the date that Missouri Governor Parson’s Recovery Plan’s Phase 1 would expire. Late last week the governor announced that Missouri would fully open and enter Phase 2 of its “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan.
In the state’s news release, it states: “During Phase 2 there will be no statewide health order. As statewide restrictions will be lifted, though local officials will still have the authority to put further rules, regulations, or ordinances in place.”
Joplin’s Response and Recovery Plan can be found on the City’s website at www.joplinmo.org/coronavirus. Step 2 allows reopening of communities by relaxing the occupancy limitations and begins to resume mass gatherings on a limited basis. The occupancy restrictions are still in place limiting 25% of the entity’s authorized fire or building code occupancy for locations less than 10,000 square feet, and 10% of the occupancy for locations 10,000 square foot or greater. Specific guidance for specific business types can be found in the Exhibits located at the back of the plan. Social distancing is still required for all interactions within the community. The full plan provides the comprehensive process to resume a normal life while preventing taking steps backward. Other COVID-19 information is also on the City’s website.
Talken also stated that if people are feeling sick to stay home. While COVID-19 is spread from person to person, more than 80% of the patients who develop it will only become mildly ill. The concern is for patients with underlying medical conditions and the elderly, who are more likely to need hospital-level supportive care.
Primary symptoms to be aware of include:
100.4 fever or higher - 90% will have fever.
Dry cough - 70% will have a dry cough.
Shortness of breath – for those who become more acutely ill.
Other symptoms to watch for are headache, loss of smell, chills, muscle pain, and/or sore throat.
Individuals experiencing these symptoms should contact their medical provider before traveling to their office. The public is reminded that a drive-through test site, supported by eTrueNorth and Walmart, is also a possible testing site for persons with these symptoms. Anyone seeking a test should go to www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to be screened and, if approved, schedule a time to visit the drive-through testing site. The number for the screening call center is 800-635-8611.
Preventative measures include:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from others.
- If you cannot socially distance in a location, it is recommended to wear a mask.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
The City will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis. Other details can be found at www.joplinmo.org/coronavirus. More information about COVID-19 can also be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/ .