Health Director Goddard: Some Are Letting Their Guard Down

Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard is telling citizens that COVID-19 isn’t done with the community and that if people don’t take personal responsibility for their part in stopping the spread of the virus, it could lead to bigger problems for the county.

“Systemic issues continue to be an institutional settings, jail and long-term care facilities in particular…we knew there would be institutional vulnerabilities in those environments,” Goddard said. “But if you remove jail and long-term care facilities from the equation our curve flattens a bit but is still increasing.”

Goddard attributed the increase in the curve even without jail and nursing home numbers to “letting our guard down.”

“I’m talking about cases that come from gatherings with friends, family members that reside outside of our home, and co-workers,” Goddard said. “Those cases are making up about 17% percent of our cases in August. These cases underscore what we’ve been saying for the last few weeks: we cannot let our guard down among the people we know and trust.”

Goddard said that while he sees many people wearing masks and social distancing in public, it needs to be done when you’re not among people you don’t know.

“We can’t let those habits slip because we trust the people we work with or the family that we want to visit with,” Goddard said. “I do believe most people are trying to avoid COVID-19 and no one wants to be the person who spreads it to our loved ones. But the truly difficult thing about this disease is that it would be infectious and you would never know about it.”

Goddard then quoted studies showing the disease can be infectious for two days before showing any symptoms, meaning you could attend a family gathering and seem fine but spread the virus to elderly relatives.

Goddard noted bars in downtown Springfield that had been photographed the previous weekend with crowds of people who were not social distancing nor wearing masks.

“If we continue to see packed spaces without a mask in sight, or lack of any of the other measures we need to be talking about right now, we’ll have to re-evaluate our community strategy,” Goddard said. “We need our bar owners and patrons to be our partners in this.”

Goddard noted that two bars were found to be over 50 percent capacity this past weekend and that owners ushered customers out of the establishment until they were under the 50 percent amount while law enforcement was on the scene.

SGCHD officials also explained at the press conference recent discrepancies involving their website’s online data report, saying that the state has upgraded their systems which required some changes made at the local level. They believe all the bugs have been worked out of that system.

The department reported 106 new cases, including 32 new cases not in the last update because of the software glitch. The county now has 2,336 confirmed cases with 1,128 considered active cases.

The latest hospital report shows 90 hospitalizations, 29 in the ICU with 16 of those cases on ventilators.

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