Since the novel coronavirus first emerged internationally in mid-December 2019, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department has advised others in the public health system, including health care, first responders, higher education institutions and many others as to the evolving nature of what is known about this disease.
The virus causes what is now named COVID-19, a respiratory illness in the same family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the common cold. This is an evolving situation, and until this point SGCHD has been actively monitoring its development while providing informal education and updates as new information became available.
We continue to have zero cases of COVID-19 in Greene County and in Missouri.
However, as person-to-person spread continues to emerge in other countries and in areas elsewhere in the United States, a more formal process is needed to respond to the developing situation.
As such, collectively the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management and other partners have formed a task force for planning and preparedness. This task force will review and deploy existing plans for respiratory illness response as they apply to the potential for COVID-19 to emerge in our community. These plans build upon what has been learned in the past from pandemics like H1N1 and other large-scale coordinated efforts.
Again, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Greene County, and it is our sincere hope that an emergency response by this task force will not be needed for some time. However, it is prudent to be poised for action should the need arise.
As what we know about COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is of upmost importance that the public be aware of the latest guidance and that misinformation be dispelled. To that end, members of the media are invited to an information session on Friday, March 6th at 11am at the Greene County Public Safety Center at 330 W. Scott St. The information session will bring together the key partners of a COVID-19 response to answer questions we know reporters have been inundated with. On behalf of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and our partners, we greatly appreciate the responsibility, ethics and discernment our local news media have used in informing the public on this important issue.