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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Manager Jason Gage has asked City departments to step up enforcement of the City’s ordinance requiring face coverings and social distancing. Health officials and police are primary enforcers of the ordinance.
Masks are primarily intended to reduce the spread of virus-laden droplets, which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions. Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer. The community benefit of masking for virus control is due to the combination of these effects; individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly. Additional social distancing measures help reduce the changes of virus transmission, as it thrives in congregant settings and increases likelihood through density and intensity of physical contact.
On Tuesday, hospital leaders from CoxHealth and Mercy told City Council they were unable to take referrals from other hospitals 60 percent of the time over the past two weeks due, in part, to an influx of COVID-19 patients. Hospital leaders have, for weeks, warned about the impacts of exponential disease spread in the community. There have been record deaths in recent days, with Greene County reporting 51 fatalities in the first eight days of December. That's more than the entire month of September and November. With hospitalizations lagging two to three weeks after new infections, health officials are bracing for the impact of gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We have taken an educational approach first, so it is safe to say that the community is fully aware of the requirements. It is time to step up efforts and send a clear message that those not in compliance will be ticketed,” City Manager Gage said. "We are entering into the most deadly phase of the pandemic, and ensuring masking compliance is the least we can do to preserve our hospital capacity and to protect our older friends and family members and those with medical conditions."
Since July 1, the City has received 666 complaints to 9-1-1 and 786 complaints to the Citizen Resource Center alleging ordinance violations. Springfield Police have handed out 2000 educational fliers and physically visited hundreds of facilities to investigate compliance.
Full guidance for individuals, businesses, group gatherings, higher education, K-12, parents, religious services, weddings and funerals, and sports / sporting events can be found at health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus.
# # #FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT CORA SCOTT AT 417-380-3352 OR [email protected].