(Joplin, MO) – After hearing an update from the Joplin Public Health Department, the Joplin City Council voted unanimously to remain in Step 2 of Phase 2 in the City of Joplin’s Recovery and Response plan. Assistant Director of the 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 in cases that the 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, 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 the statewide Recovery Plan’s Phase 1 would expire. Late last week, Governor Mike Parson 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 joplinmo.org/coronavirus. Step 2 allows for the reopening of the community by relaxing the occupancy limitations and resuming 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 with 10,000 square feet or greater. Guidance for specific business types can be found in the Exhibits located at the back of the plan. Social distancing is still required of all interactions within the community. The full plan provides the comprehensive process to resume a normal life while preventing steps backward. Other COVID-19 information is also on the City’s website.
Talken also stated that if people are feeling sick, that they should 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 degree fever or higher (90% of cases will have a 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 those with symptoms. Anyone seeking a test should go to DoINeedaCOVID-19test.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 that encouraged for everyone 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 joplinmo.org/coronavirus. More information about COVID-19 can also be found on the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s website at cdc.gov/.
Lynn Iliff Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204